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President Obama Proposes ‘Common Sense’ Rules for Net Neutrality

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US President Barack Obama is putting pressure on the Federal Communications Commission to implement “the strongest possible rules to protect net neutrality,” releasing a statement and video on Monday that urges the FCC to ensure that telecos or ISPs can’t act as gatekeepers.

President Obama says that the rules he is proposing the FCC implement come after the public submitted more than four million comments on net neutrality. In a prepared statement, he calls the rules he is asking for “simple, common sense steps.”

ISPs should not be permitted to block legal content nor should they be able to intentionally slow down or speed up access to certain content, Obama says. This echoes a statement from the Internet Association in July that said consumers should be able to access the content they want without censorship, and that artificial slow lanes should be banished.

In the statement, Obama asked the FCC to “make full use of the transparency authorities recently upheld, and if necessary to apply net neutrality rules to points of interconnection between the ISP and the rest of the Internet.”

Lastly, the rules should ban paid prioritization, since that kind of gatekeeping undermines “the level playing field essential to the Internet’s growth,” he said.

Obama assures that these rules would not create “any undue burden for ISPs.”

The FCC should also reclassify consumer broadband service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act, Obama says.

“If the FCC appropriately forbears from the Title II regulations that are not needed to implement the principles above — principles that most ISPs have followed for years — it will help ensure new rules are consistent with incentives for further investment in the infrastructure of the Internet.”

Last week, non-profit organization Fight for the Future organized protests across the US on Thursday is support of net neutrality. The protests were against FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler moving ahead with a hybrid solution proposed by California representative Henry Waxman. The group also called for the FCC to reclassify broadband under Title II.

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About the Author

Nicole Henderson is the Editor in Chief of the WHIR, where she covers daily news and features online. She has a bachelor of journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto. You can find her on Twitter @NicoleHenderson.

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