More than any other invention of our time, the Internet has unlocked possibilities we could just barely imagine a generation ago. And here's a big reason we've seen such incredible growth and innovation: Most Internet providers have treated Internet traffic equally. That's a principle known as "net neutrality" — and it says that an entrepreneur's fledgling company should have the same chance to succeed as established corporations, and that access to a high school student's blog shouldn't be unfairly slowed down to make way for advertisers with more money.Obama's Plan to Save the Internet
The President Might Have Just Saved the Internet | Craig AaronSo Obama's presenting a four point plan. You can read his full explanation of each point in the full statement below, but here are the important, pretty self-explanatory bullet points:
- No blocking.
- No throttling.
- Increased transparency.
- No paid prioritization.No block and no throttling are obvious. Increased transparency is vague, but we'll come back to that in a second. Meanwhile, you've heard a lot about paid prioritization (fast lanes) from the big fight over the summer, when the FCC invited the public to comment on its pretty shitty rules. As we all know, lots of people—over 4 million to be exact—did just that, breaking pretty much every record the FCC had for public involvement in its regulations. So the president agreeing with the public is a terrific thing! But, again, it does not mean that this solves the problem of protecting net neutrality for good.
The president's statement is worth quoting at length:The White House Gets It Right On Net Neutrality. Will the FCC? | Electronic Frontier Foundation
An open Internet is essential to the American economy, and increasingly to our very way of life. By lowering the cost of launching a new idea, igniting new political movements, and bringing communities closer together, it has been one of the most significant democratizing influences the world has ever known.
'Net Neutrality' has been built into the fabric of the Internet since its creation -- but it is also a principle that we cannot take for granted. We cannot allow Internet service providers (ISPs) to restrict the best access or to pick winners and losers in the online marketplace for services and ideas. That is why today I am asking the Federal Communications Commission to answer the call of almost 4 million public comments, and implement the strongest possible rules to protect Net Neutrality.
Obama backs net neutrality, wants broadband regulated as a utility | Computerworld
Obama says FCC should reclassify internet as a utility | The Verge
Regulating internet service under Title II would mean reclassifying it as a utility, like water. This means that internet providers would just be pumping internet back and forth through pipes and not actually making any decisions about where the internet goes. For the most part, that's a controversial idea in the eyes of service providers alone. It means that they're losing some control over what they sell, and that they can't favor certain services to benefit their own business. Instead, providers would be stuck allowing consumers to use the internet as they want to, using whatever services they like without any penalty. If that sounds pretty great, it's because that's basically how the internet has worked up until now.
Obama's support of Title II reclassification comes at a critical time for net neutrality. While the FCC is in the process of making new rules to protect net neutrality, those rules would actually allow internet providers to offer so-called "fast lanes," effectively defeating the purpose of net neutrality in the first place. During a public comment period over the summer, Americans spoke out loudly against the proposal, but it's not yet clear what the commission plans to do in response. FCC chair Tom Wheeler has said that he isn't entirely opposed to Title II, but that's appeared to be only if other methods won't work first.