President Obama: The Internet should be treated like a utility to ensure it stays open, independent

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — President Obama says the Internet should be more heavily regulated to ensure it stays open and independent.

In a public statement, Obama took a firm stand on a thorny issue: whether Internet providers can charge higher fees to place certain websites on Internet “fast lanes.” FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has voiced his support for fast lanes, but the president urged Wheeler to change his mind.

Obama’s approach is to look at the Internet like a utility, and to treat companies like AT& and Comcas the same as your local power company. That would forbid broadband providers from blocking legal websites or keep websites in a “slow lane” until they pay up an extra fee.

“These rules mean everything for preserving the Internet’s openness,” Obama said. “Companies who connect you to the world have special obligations not to exploit the monopoly they enjoy over access in and out of your home or business.”

Now it’s up to the FCC’s commissioners to draft and enforce Obama’s rules. But that could prove difficult. Internet providers don’t want strict regulation that ties their hands, and they have successfully resisted earlier attempts to reclassify broadband as a utility in the past.

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1 Comment

  • Rainy Y (@wobykyxyco)

    Cable companies need to be regulated. They’re working together to prevent having to provide better service or lower prices. The internet in the US is extremely slow and over priced.

    My cable/internet costs me $150/month (from Time Warner). Contrast with my other expenses:

    – Gym ($11/month from Planet Fitness)
    – Mobile Phone ($21/month from TMobile)
    – Car insurance ($25/month from Insurance Panda)
    – Groceries ($90/month for me)

    Yes, that’s correct, my gym, cellphone, car insurance, and food COMBINED cost less than my TWC bill.

    This will be a win for consumers by increasing competition and expanding infrastructure. Prices drop and speed increases. Profits drop. Aww.

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