Obama outlines rules for net neutrality; Ted Cruz calls it ‘Obamacare for the Internet’

President Obama on Monday made a strong statement to Internet service providers saying they shouldn’t be allowed to make deals with online service providers to have their content move more quickly than others.

But critics immediately blasted Obama’s stance as crippling Internet progress, reported Fox News.

In the statement,  Obama called on Internet service providers to not “pick winners and losers in the online marketplace for services and ideas.” 

“The FCC is an independent agency, and ultimately this decision is theirs alone. I believe the FCC should create a new set of rules protecting net neutrality and ensuring that neither the cable company nor the phone company will be able to act as a gatekeeper, restricting what you can do or see online,” the statement read.

The president went on to outline what he called “simple rules” to maintain net neutrality.

• 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.

Critics of the president’s stance said imposing the suggested regulations would stunt internet growth. 

“We are stunned the president would abandon the longstanding, bipartisan policy of lightly regulating the Internet and calling for extreme” regulation, said Michael Powell, president of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, adding the “tectonic shift in national policy, should it be adopted, would create devastating results.”

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, blasted the statement and called it “Obamacare for the internet.”

“It puts the government in charge of determining Internet pricing, terms of service, and what types of products and services can be delivered, leading to fewer choices, fewer opportunities and higher prices for consumers,” Cruz said in the statement. “The Internet should not operate at the speed of government.”

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Carmine Sabia

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