This morning, The White House released a statement calling on the FCC to formally classify Internet Service Providers under the current Title II rules that are used to regulate utilities under the Telecommunications Act after months of public comment on the issue of Net Neutrality with the following tenets.
- No blocking. If a consumer requests access to a website or service, and the content is legal, your ISP should not be permitted to block it. That way, every player — not just those commercially affiliated with an ISP — gets a fair shot at your business.
- No throttling. Nor should ISPs be able to intentionally slow down some content or speed up others — through a process often called “throttling” — based on the type of service or your ISP’s preferences.
- Increased transparency. The connection between consumers and ISPs — the so-called “last mile” — is not the only place some sites might get special treatment. So, I am also asking the FCC to make full use of the transparency authorities the court recently upheld, and if necessary to apply net neutrality rules to points of interconnection between the ISP and the rest of the Internet.
- No paid prioritization. Simply put: No service should be stuck in a “slow lane” because it does not pay a fee. That kind of gatekeeping would undermine the level playing field essential to the Internet’s growth. So, as I have before, I am asking for an explicit ban on paid prioritization and any other restriction that has a similar effect.
The FCC has declined to classify internet access as a utility over the years, and service providers have fought the idea of being regulated as a utility through lobbying efforts and campaign contributions to lawmakers in order to avoid such a classification under the idea that such regulation would threaten their ability to compete and innovate with new products and services. Already, conservative lawmakers have come out against Obama’s proposal and the issue is far from settled.