President Obama Says FCC Should Reclassify Internet as a Utility

President Obama Says FCC Should Reclassify Internet as a Utility

President Obama has come out today in support of reclassifying the Internet as a utility. That would allow the Federal Communications Commission to enforce more robust regulations on the service, and protect net neutrality.

The Verge:

“The time has come for the FCC to recognize that broadband service is of the same importance and must carry the same obligations as so many of the other vital services do,” Obama writes in a statement this morning. “To do that, I believe the FCC should reclassify consumer broadband service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act — while at the same time forbearing from rate regulation and other provisions less relevant to broadband services.”

Net neutrality advocates have long been pushing the FCC to reclassify Internet services under Title II, but the commission has held off, due to the certain political hurdles it will face. Internet providers are opposed to such a move, as it would make them a simple conduit through which the Internet is accessed, giving them no control over what you can and can’t do online.

The FCC is currently working on new net neutrality rules, but its most recent proposal would allow internet providers to offer so-called “fast lanes,” effectively defeating the purpose of net neutrality. While FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has said that he isn’t entirely opposed to Title II, but only if other methods won’t work first.

In his statement, the President highlighted these major points:

  • Internet providers wouldn’t be allowed to block websites offering legal content.
  • They wouldn’t be allowed to intentionally slow down or speed up certain websites or services based on their own preferences.
  • They wouldn’t be able to offer paid fast lanes.

President Obama’s full statement is available at the website.