President Barack Obama recently urged the Federal Communication Commission to protect unrestricted access to the internet under Title II of the Telecommunications Act.

The president’s statement said in part:

“Net neutrality” has been built into the fabric of the Internet since its creation — but it is also a principle that we cannot take for granted. We cannot allow Internet service providers (ISPs) to restrict the best access or to pick winners and losers in the online marketplace for services and ideas. That is why today, I am asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to answer the call of almost 4 million public comments, and implement the strongest possible rules to protect net neutrality.

President Obama stressed four main points in his statement:

  • 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.

U.S. Senator from Texas John Cornyn however has released a statement relating net neutrality to the unrelated Affordable Care Act.

The biggest regulatory threat to the Internet is net neutrality. In short, net neutrality is 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. The Internet should not operate at the speed of government."

Senator Ted Cruz mirrored the sentiment in a recent Tweet.

@tedcruz, Twitter
@tedcruz, Twitter

One group sees an oligarchy of gate-keeping ISP’s limiting the freedom of content providers and consumers, while the other sees overreaching government mandates inhibiting laissez-faire business. While there is no consensus currently being reached, both sides agree that net neutrality will be a focal point for free market economy battles in the next few years. Let us know what you think about net neutrality by answering the poll and commenting below.

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