President Obama today urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reclassify broadband service as a utility and to impose rules that prevent Internet service providers from blocking and throttling traffic or prioritizing Web services in exchange for payment. Obama also said utility rules should apply both to home Internet service and mobile broadband.
In short, Obama is siding with consumer advocates who have lobbied for months in favor of reclassification while the telecommunications industry lobbied against it.
In a plan released today, Obama said, “The time has come for the FCC to recognize that broadband service is of the same importance [as the traditional telephone system] and must carry the same obligations as so many of the other vital services do. To do that, I believe the FCC should reclassify consumer broadband service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act—while at the same time forbearing from rate regulation and other provisions less relevant to broadband services. This is a basic acknowledgment of the services ISPs provide to American homes and businesses, and the straightforward obligations necessary to ensure the network works for everyone—not just one or two companies.”