US President Barack Obama has written a stiff letter to the FCC to tell them to stop mucking around and come up with some proper net neutrality laws.
Millions of people wrote to the telecom’s regulator asking that telcos be blocked from trying to create a two tiered internet. The FCC however decided that it would continue its policy of doing whatever the telcos tell it – hell anyone would think it was a watchdog rather than a lapdog.
However Obama has said that Internet service providers should be regulated more like public utilities to make sure they grant equal access to all content providers, touching off intense protests from cable and telecoms companies. Obama's detailed statement on the issue of "net neutrality," a platform in his 2008 presidential campaign, was a rare intervention by the White House into the policy setting of an independent agency.
Shares of major Internet service providers Comcast and Time Warner Cable fell sharply after Obama said ISPs should be reclassified to face stricter regulations and banned from striking paid "fast lane" deals with content companies. The president also said the Federal Communications Commission's new rules should apply equally to mobile and wired ISPs, with a recognition of special challenges that come with managing wireless networks.
"Simply put: No service should be stuck in a 'slow lane' because it does not pay a fee," Obama. "That kind of gate keeping would undermine the level playing field essential to the Internet’s growth."
Verizon said that Reclassification would apply 1930s-era utility regulation to the Internet, would be a radical reversal. It would mean the company would not be allowed to do what it liked and charge customers whatever it liked which is not the American way. Verizon in January won a federal court case challenging the FCC's previous set of net neutrality rules, which allowed "commercially reasonable" discrimination of traffic but indicated the FCC would disapprove of pay-for-priority deals.
Consumer advocates have for years pressed the FCC to reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service as a way to have more oversight authority, but ISPs have pledged they would fight the matter in court. Obama and other White House officials acknowledged that the FCC, as an independent agency, would ultimately shape the regulations. His problem is that he only pays their wages. A huge number of FCC members are former telco workers.
The Republicans could not resist sticking their oar in, once again showing a complete indifference about the Internet. Senator Ted Cruz said that “Net neutrality is Obamacare.. It puts the government in charge of determining Internet pricing, terms of service, and what types of products and services can be delivered."
Clearly, he was not aware that the US had net neutrality for the last 20 years and the government had not set any prices at all.