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 newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

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

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

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?