Commentary

Obama Urges FCC To Classify Broadband As Utility

In his strongest statement this year on net neutrality, President Barack Obama today urged the Federal Communications Commission to reclassify broadband service as a utility. Doing so would allow the FCC to impose the same kinds of common carrier rules that require telephone companies to put through all calls.

“The time has come for the FCC to recognize that broadband service is of the same importance and must carry the same obligations as so many of the other vital services do,” Obama said in a statement issued this morning. “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.”

The President added that broadband regulations should include bans on “paid prioritization” deals, which involve providers charging content companies higher fees for faster delivery.

“No service should be stuck in a “slow lane” because it does not pay a fee,” he said. “That kind of gatekeeping would undermine the level playing field essential to the Internet’s growth.”

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