WASHINGTON — During a question-and-answer session in Santa Monica, Calif., on Thursday, President Barack Obama voiced his strong support for Net Neutrality and his opposition to the sort of pay-for-priority plan put forward by his appointed chair to the Federal Communications Commission. The remarks were the strongest statement yet from the president against the FCC’s current proposal, which 99 percent of those who submitted public comments to the agency oppose.
“I made a commitment very early on that I am unequivocally committed to Net Neutrality,” Obama said to applause from the audience. “I think it is what has unleashed the power of the Internet, and we don’t want to lose that or clog up the pipes.
“I know that one of the things people are most concerned about is paid prioritization, the notion that somehow some folks can pay a little more money and get better service, more exclusive access to customers through the Internet: That is something I’m opposed to.
“My appointee, Tom Wheeler, knows my position. I can’t — now that he’s there — I can’t just call him up and tell him exactly what to do. But what I’ve been clear about, what the White House has been clear about, is that we expect that whatever final rules emerge, to make sure that we’re not creating two or three or four tiers of Internet. That ends up being a big priority of mine.”
Obama’s position clearly contradicts Wheeler’s proposal, which would allow Internet access providers to favor the content of a few wealthy companies over other websites and services. More than 3.7 million people have commented on the issue at the FCC, with the vast majority rejecting Wheeler’s plan and calling on the agency to implement real Net Neutrality rules that would prevent Internet service providers from interfering with online content.
Free Press President and CEO Craig Aaron made the following statement:
“President Obama made a clear and unmistakable call for real Net Neutrality. Now Chairman Wheeler must answer. And the only way to accomplish the president’s goals and meet the public’s demands is by restoring the FCC’s authority under Title II of the Communications Act.
“Title II is what we need, not another convoluted compromise or not-so-clever scheme that will never survive a court challenge. Title II is the only way to prevent the sort of discrimination and tiered Internet the president warned us about. Yet thus far Wheeler seems afraid to take this essential step, favoring an approach that would clearly encourage online discrimination and strand startups, small businesses and everyday Internet users in the slow lane.
“There’s no doubt that Wheeler has lost political support for his proposal. He is opposed by the president, leaders in Congress and millions and millions of Americans. It’s time for Wheeler to abandon his plan and commit to using the agency’s Title II authority to protect real Net Neutrality.”
“President Obama Tells FCC Chairman He Expects Real Net Neutrality” is reprinted here under the Free Press Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial ShareAlike license ~ Contact Info: Timothy Karr, 201-533-8838
Although I didn’t even know what “Net Neutrality” meant when I began this blog, it is the reason I began this blog. Even though I am not myself a tech person, I am very much aware of the importance of technology in modern life. And the importance of the Internet is incalculable.
The United States has assumed credit for and asserted ownership and legal oversight for the Internet.
The governments of the rest of the world have accepted this by sutting on their hands, effectively disenfrancising most of the world’s citizens from any say in the governance of this thing that affects us all, whether or not we even use the Internet.
Does the United States of America have a “government of the people, by the people, for the people” ?
How is it possible for a regulatory body like the FCC to ignore 99% feedback of the population? If the United States was an actual democracy, this should not be able to happen.
This press release makes much of President Obama’s claims of support for Net Neutrality. Does he really? Oh, he says he does. but does he really? He has been saying this for quite some time. Why is this debate still going on if that is true? Obama appointed the FCC Chairman, Tom Wheeler. Why would President Obama appoint anyone who did not supprt Net Neutrality if he himself actually supports Net Neutrality? That makes zero sense to me.
People say that the office of the President of the United States is the most powerful job in the world. But is it? In a democracy, I would expect the holder of the office would derive his power from the backing of the citizens who gave him the job. What I have to wonder why the President’s wishes should be more important than those of the majority of the citizens?
If it is the most powerful job, why isn’t he actually doing what 99% of the citizens want?