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Obama Wants to Regulate ISPs

Although the White House doesn't control the FCC on Monday, January 12 president Obama urged the commission to stop any arrangements that would allow individual companies to pay Internet service providers for faster delivery of their content. The president said he wanted to avoid creating one Internet for the wealthy and another for the not so wealthy.

This endorsement of net neutrality by Pres. Obama was a call to current regulators to prevent broadband companies from creating "fast lanes" for organizations that can afford it. The president continued that the United States cannot allow ISPs to restrict access or to pick one company over another in the online marketplace. Obama urges the FCC, which is currently facing a decision on whether broadband providers can cut separate deals with content providers like YouTube, Netflix, or Amazon for priority delivery of their current. The president is urging not only the current prevention of this offer but to ban it entirely from future offers.

The president has always been a supporter of net neutrality and in 2008 his presidential campaign called specifically for this, the idea that Internet companies should not control the speed of data but provide equal service for all.

The reason this is an unusual move is the FCC is an independent agency well outside the control of the White House. That is probably why this is more of a request and a public shaming the directive. Obama did acknowledge that the decision will ultimately fall to the FCC alone.

Obama specifically requested that the FCC reclassified broadband Internet as a telecommunications service that would be covered under title II of the 1934 Communications Act. This would allow Internet providers to be overseen like public utilities such as phone companies.

Verizon and Comcast, which are currently lobbying against any further regulation, have both publicly said the changes that Obama wishes would not stand up in court.

Not surprisingly the Republicans also attacked the presence position with varying degrees of competence.