Obama: Broadband should be regulated as a utility

The president also calls on the FCC to stop broadband providers from charging content companies to prioritize their traffic

U.S. President Barack Obama has made his strongest statement on net neutrality to date, calling on the Federal Communications Commission to reclassify broadband as a regulated utility, and to prohibit broadband providers from charging Web content producers for paid traffic prioritization.

Obama on Monday called on the FCC to reclassify broadband as a common carrier, subject to telephone-style regulations, and to ban broadband carriers from selectively blocking or throttling Web traffic. The president waded into a contentious debate about reclassifying broadband, coming down on the opposite side of many large broadband carriers.

Reclassifying broadband would "keep the Internet free and open," Obama said in a video message. "In plain English, "I'm asking [the FCC] to recognize that, for most Americans, the Internet has become an essential part of everyday communication and everyday life."

Obama's proposal also clashes with FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's original net neutrality plan, which would have stopped short of reclassifying broadband under Title II of the Communications Act and instead allowed broadband providers to engage in "commercially reasonable" traffic management. Wheeler's original plan would have also allowed for some paid prioritization, although the FCC chairman now says he's open to a range of paths to pass new rules, including reclassification.

The FCC is an independent agency, and Obama has no direct power to force the agency to act. Nearly 4 million people submitted comments in the FCC's ongoing net neutrality proceeding, and many of those people have asked the FCC to ensure that "consumers, not the cable company, gets to decide what sites they use," Obama said.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags telecommunicationregulationTom WheelerU.S. Federal Communications CommissiongovernmentBarack ObamainternetInternet service providersbroadband

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB Kit (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 UDIMM

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Plox Star Wars Death Star Levitating Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?