President Obama today waded into the politically charged debate over net neutrality, arguing that Internet service providers shouldn't be allowed to offer "fast lanes" to certain websites. Obama called on the Federal Communications Commission to "reclassify consumer broadband service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act." That would make broadband a utility, giving the FCC more room to regulate it, the Verge reports. "In plain English," Obama says in a video, "I'm asking [the FCC] to recognize that for most Americans, the Internet has become an essential part of everyday communication and everyday life." The FCC is, however, "an independent agency," he notes, "and ultimately this decision is theirs alone."
In a statement, the president suggests four key rules for ISPs:
- "No blocking." Any content a consumer requests should be available, provided that it's not illegal.
- "No throttling." In other words, ISPs shouldn't get to slow down or speed up access to certain sites deliberately.
- "Increased transparency." The FCC should also keep an eye on connection points between ISPs and content providers like Netflix, the Verge explains.
- And finally, "No paid prioritization. Simply put: No service should be stuck in a 'slow lane' because it does not pay a fee," Obama says.
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