Six Years After 2008 Campaign Pledge, President Obama Pushes for Net Neutrality

Posted Nov. 19, 2014

MP3 Interview with Craig Aaron, president/CEO of the media reform group Free Press, conducted by Scott Harris

netneutrality

In an unexpected announcement from the White House, President Obama issued a statement on Nov. 10 declaring his public support for net neutrality, a principle that all traffic on the Internet should be treated equally, where individuals and small start-up companies will have their content delivered to the public at the same speed as powerful, wealthy corporations. In a videotaped statement the president said, “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.” The president now advocates placing regulation of the Internet under Title II of the Telecommunications Act, the same set of rules governing telecommunication utilities like landline telephones.

Although Obama had pledged his support for net neutrality when while campaigning for the White House in 2007 and 2008, his actions in appointing two Federal Communications Commission Chairpersons Julius Genachowski and Tom Wheeler, who both refused to back the policy called into question his commitment on the issue.

The White House position changed after a federal court overturned FCC rules regulating the Internet in January and almost 4 million people sent public comments to the FCC objecting to Chairman Wheeler’s proposal to establish a tiered Internet system, where a fee-based system would determine the speed at which content would be delivered. Now, with President Obama's public support for net neutrality, the coming fight will be between pro-net neutrality activists and content providers on one side and telecom giants like Comcast, Verizon, AT&T and other broadband providers on the other. Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with Craig Aaron, president and CEO of the media reform group Free Press, who examines President Obama's recent public advocacy for net neutrality and the role public activism can play in deciding the final outcome of this policy debate.

For information on the media reform group Free Press. For more information on net neutrality and media democracy campaigns visit Freepress.net and Savetheinternet.com

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