When one of the FCC commissioners came out with the statement that net neutrality would foster a slew of lawsuits, I was certain the man was working for the efforts of big business directly. I started checking for an AT&T tattoo on the back of the neck in any picture where the neck was shown. It seemed as though no one in the current administration should make those assumptions in a public manner, far before the rules are set in stone.
Now, according to a story reported in PC Magazine, we still have hope at the top, as President Obama is still committed to the concept, and perhaps he has found a cork, or other device, for the mouth of that stray commissioner.
President Obama on Monday reiterated his commitment to net neutrality, and criticized companies that are trying to derail the FCC’s efforts on the issue.
“I’m a big believer in net neutrality,” Obama said during an interview conducted via YouTube that consisted of questions submitted by users following his State of the Union address last week. “I campaigned on this. I continue to be a strong supporter of it.”
Obama pointed to net neutrality rules proposed last year by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski that would prevent ISPs from discriminating against particular applications or Web sites, and require them to be more transparent about their network management.
“Genachowski has indicated that he shares the view that we’ve got to keep the Internet open, that we don’t want to create a bunch of gateways that prevent somebody who doesn’t have a lot of money but has a good idea from being able to start their next YouTube or their next Google on the Internet,” Obama said.
The president acknowledged that there has been opposition to the plan, particularly from the wireless industry and ISPs that do not think the FCC needs to regulate this issue.
“We’re getting pushback, obviously, from some of the bigger carriers who would like to be able to charge more fees and extract more money from wealthier customers,” Obama said. “But we think that runs counter to the whole spirit of openness that has made the Internet such a powerful engine for not only economic growth, but also for the generation of ideas and creativity.”
I take solace in the words of the President, and I hope that the efforts continue, no matter the pushback from big money. It would be nice to think that, at least one time per decade, the FCC can be on the right side of something.
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