President Obama has once again come out openly in favor of net neutrality and has offered his support to FCC after it lost in a legal case last month. Writing in response to a White House petition, President Obama’s words were clearer than before in support of network neutrality stopping short of any concrete suggestions.
He has made a strong case for net neutrality. He has written:
“Preserving an open internet is vital not to just to the free flow of information, but also to promoting innovation and economic productivity. Absent net neutrality, the Internet could turn into a high-priced private toll road that would be inaccessible to the next generation of visionaries.”
The chairmen of FCC, Tom Wheeler, has said that he is working on a plan to recreate the Open Internet rules, which were mostly struck down by a court last month. The overall ruling by court was not favorable for FCC but the same court said that FCC has authority to regulate ISPs even within the current rules and Wheeler has said that he is accepting this invitation. And now with Obama backing him up, he is likely to feel strengthened:
It was … encouraging to see Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler, whom the President appointed to that post last year, reaffirm his commitment to a free and open internet and pledge to use the authority granted by Congress to maintain a free and open internet. The White House strongly supports the FCC and Chairman Wheeler in this effort.
The original petition has suggested that FCC reclassify broadband providers as common carriers. However, on this President Obama was not very forthcoming and remains equivocal on this issue.
The petition asked that the President direct the FCC to reclassify internet service providers as “common carriers” which, if upheld, would give the FCC a distinct set of regulatory tools to promote net neutrality. The FCC is an independent agency. Chairman Wheeler has publicly pledged to use the full authority granted by Congress to maintain a robust, free and open internet — a principle that this White House vigorously supports.
More details about Wheeler’s plan are expected to arrive later this month. In the meanwhile the merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable Carriers has further added to the worries of supporters of net neutrality.