In a move strongly backing net neutrality regulations, President Barack Obama announced his plan to reclassify the internet as a utility in order to preserve the web’s “basic principles of openness and fairness.”
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.
In the announcement, Obama urged the FCC to implement four “common-sense steps” to help protect net neutrality, including increased transparency and the prohibition of paid-priority gatekeeping by internet service providers.
The decision, however, remains up to the FCC, which has thus far proposed new changes to allow content providers to pay cable companies for so-called “fast lanes” of service. Net neutrality advocates say the proposed rules are a threat limiting access to the open internet.
“Simply put: No service should be stuck in a ‘slow lane’ because it does not pay a fee,” Obama said in the Monday morning statement. “That kind of gatekeeping would undermine the level playing field essential to the Internet’s growth.”
Unsurprisingly, the GOP is not happy with the president’s plan:
“Net Neutrality” is Obamacare for the Internet; the Internet should not operate at the speed of government.
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) November 10, 2014
Watch Obama’s announcement in full below: