Has Obama Saved Net Neutrality?

Written by David Michaelis

Did Obama’s speech on net neutrality ensure a free and lasting Internet? David Michaelis comments.

aNewDomain.net — Did US President Barack Obama’s net neutrality statement save free internet? The President reacted to 3.7 million comments made by citizens to the FCC. His main points were:

  1. No Blocking: Companies should not be able to pick and choose which traffic to manipulate.
  2. No Throttling: Companies should not be able to slow down the speeds of some content.
  3. Increased Transparency: You should be able to see all that is legal.
  4. No Fast Lane Deals: Preferred treatment should not be allowed. See Comcast-Netflix deal (below).

Obama and Net Neutrality

Although the FCC is an independent body, the President’s intervention is clear in its intent. He wants to prevent a fundamental shift of power in the Internet economy. The inherent freedom of the Internet is currently threatened to be undermined. Currently, a non-competitive market structure is in place, and it has served Internet users well for the past two decades.

But the recent Comcast-Netflix deal is an example of competitive agreements that could transform network neutrality if we’re not careful. Officially, Comcast’s deal with Netflix is about interconnection, not traffic discrimination. But traffic discrimination certainly seems to be a part of what’s going on.

The President said,

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.”

Net neutrality the haves and have nots

Cartoon Credit: Adam Zyglis, Buffalo News. ogiecartoonc.com

2015: “Internet Obama Care” vs. Corporate Interests

The cable industry’s response to Obama’s statement was less than favorable.

Michael Powell, chief executive of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, said the industry association was ‘stunned’ at Mr Obama’s intervention. ‘This tectonic shift in national policy, should it be adopted, would create devastating results.'”

The big question is: Will FCC listen to 3.7 million comments? The government body moves slowly, and the issue of net neutrality will certainly not be decided in D.C. anytime soon.

Meanwhile, Google, with its fiber initiative in more than 30 US cities, could be the real competitor who fights this conglomerate marriage. Maybe technology funded by Google, Amazon and others will be faster in determining the outcome.

Obama wanted every website operated from a garage to have an equal chance. Meanwhile Senator Cruz wrote on Twitter: “Net Neutrality’ is Obamacare for the Internet; the Internet should not operate at the speed of government.” I guess he’s not listening to citizens but to corporate cable chiefs. Big surprise there.

For aNewDomain.net, I’m David Michaelis.

1 Comment

  • You say “Currently, a non-competitive market structure is in place, and it has served Internet users well for the past two decades.”

    Do you mean to say the current non-competitive market is a good thing and it has served US users well? I have to disagree with both statements. I am trapped by a monopoly ISP (Time Warner Cable) that raises rates arbitrarily and charges a lot for mediocre speed relative to many developed nations.

    I agree that net neutrality is desirable all things being equal, but that is not the same as going to common carrier status, which I believe is what the president is advocating.