Obama And Democrats Score A Giant Win For The American People On Net Neutrality

obama franken net neutrality

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler made it official. He is going to propose the strongest rules ever to protect net neutrality. This is a big political victory for President Obama and his party but is even more gigantic for every American, who uses the Internet.

Writing in Wired, Chairman Wheeler announced:

Originally, I believed that the FCC could assure internet openness through a determination of “commercial reasonableness” under Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. While a recent court decision seemed to draw a roadmap for using this approach, I became concerned that this relatively new concept might, down the road, be interpreted to mean what is reasonable for commercial interests, not consumers.

That is why I am proposing that the FCC use its Title II authority to implement and enforce open internet protections.

Using this authority, I am submitting to my colleagues the strongest open internet protections ever proposed by the FCC. These enforceable, bright-line rules will ban paid prioritization, and the blocking and throttling of lawful content and services. I propose to fully apply—for the first time ever—those bright-line rules to mobile broadband. My proposal assures the rights of internet users to go where they want, when they want, and the rights of innovators to introduce new products without asking anyone’s permission.

In plain English, this means that internet is going to remain open and equal for all.

HBO’s John Oliver brought the issue to mainstream attention with a segment from his show that went viral:

The issue turned when President Obama issued a video and a statement in support of net neutrality that called for the FCC to regulate ISPs like a utility. The president said, “So 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. 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.

Politico reported that President Obama’s support for net neutrality was a major force behind Wheeler’s change of heart.

Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) called Wheeler’s announcement a big victory, “This is a big victory. It’s is a win for consumers, for small businesses trying to compete with the big guys, and for innovation. It’s welcome news for all of us who have fought to keep the Internet free and open, and I’m so glad that the millions of Americans who spoke out in support of strong net neutrality rules have been heard.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said, “This is a victory for consumers and entrepreneurs. The proposal would ensure that the Internet remains a space for the open exchange of ideas and information, free of discrimination and corporate control.”

The FCC is an independent agency, but it is clear that the 4 million comments in support of net neutrality that flooded the agency, and strong words of the president made the difference. The Republican argument that allowing a handful corporations to control the Internet defied common sense. The Republican distortions of the definition of net neutrality were so extreme that Sen. Al Franken said that he didn’t think that Republicans like Sen. Ted Cruz understood what net neutrality was. Cruz responded by releasing a video on net neutrality that proved the Minnesota Democrat right.

Chairman Wheeler’s proposal is a defeat for the telecom giants who tried to engage in a hostile takeover of the Internet. Their loss is a testament to what can happen when millions of Americans get engaged and involved, and political leaders listen to the will of the people.

9 Replies to “Obama And Democrats Score A Giant Win For The American People On Net Neutrality”

  1. Another blow to the Republicans attempts to clamp down on the Internet innovation that allowed a free and unencumbered use by EVERYONE without restrictions from vested interest corporations bent on controlling the ‘Net for their greedy purposes. And as usual Republicans sided with those with an eye on controlling what we do, see and utilize in and on this wonder of the 21st Century. Why are Republicans like that? Sour, dour, and party poopers? ;) They are like the guests you wished you hadn’t invited to the wedding, just because you know that they would spoil the day, and do so eventually.

  2. This news is indeed great for American citizens. Corporations control our wealth presently. At least they will not totally control our access to information. Franken is right–it is, along with overturning the Patriot Act, one of the two great issues concerning our freedom of speech and freedom from surveillance. And I thought the Republicans were the party of freedom. They always tell us that they want freedom from government interference, while they manipulate and limit our freedoms under various disguises, from religion to fearmongering.

  3. The TEAliban lost.

    The Republican party is finished. They are showing that they cannot run anything outside of their big mouths.

    TPP…how are we going to get Obama to turn his back on that? WRITE TO HIM!

  4. They only want government to be small when it comes getting in the way of corporate misfeasance, they are more than fine with big brother.

  5. djchefron:

    ;) I LIKE your style! Good comeback. Clever responses. You hit them with your facts.
    BTW I am a fan. No kidding. You are all over the place kicking the Right Wing Republican Tea-baggers down, exposing their weak positions and comments with finesse, humor , sarcasm and FACTS or (links) . I notice that none of them win any arguments with you. Good, keep it up.

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