Monday, October 13, 2014

Obama pushes his support for net-neutrality

Associated Press photo by Evan Vucci
One of the biggest supporters of net-neutrality is President Obama, who said on Thursday that he is "firmly opposed to any proposal that would let companies buy an Internet fast lane to deliver their content more quickly to consumers," Edward Wyatt reports for The New York Times.

Obama's "statements at a town-hall meeting in Santa Monica, Calif., on innovation gave a strong signal to Mr. Obama’s Democratic appointees on the Federal Communications Commission that he wants them to heed the overwhelming public sentiment expressed in 3.7 million comments sent to the commission in recent months concerning a set of rules proposed by the commission meant to protect net neutrality," Wyatt writes. "A large majority of those comments, solicited by the commission, came out against Internet fast lanes—a practice known as paid prioritization."

In May, the FCC "sought comment on a preliminary proposal for a new set of rules intended to protect the 'Open Internet,'" Wyatt writes. "A previous set of rules, crafted in 2010, was struck down in January by a federal appeals court, which said the rules illegally subjected Internet service providers to utility-like regulation."

"The new rules were meant to discourage broadband providers from discriminating against or blocking legal content requested by subscribers," Wyatt writes. "But they were interpreted as not banning the creation of fast lanes, in which a content provider like Netflix might pay an Internet service provider like Comcast a fee to give its content top priority for delivery to customers."

"Supporters of net neutrality say that if payment were required for content providers to reach consumers in a timely fashion, only wealthier, more established companies would be able to afford to do so, while emerging companies—those that could be the next Google or Facebook—might be relegated to the slow lane and a doubtful future," Wyatt writes. (Read more)

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