President Obama Asks FCC To Reclassify Internet Service As A Utility, Lays Out Plan

While the US Senate doesn’t seem to have a clue about net neutrality and the issues brought up in regards to the FCC, its “Fast Lanes” plan, and the issue of what the internet should be classified as, President Barack Obama seems to get it. The President announced his support that the internet be reclassified as a utility service in order ensure that the internet remain free and open.

“’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,” said President Obama in a statement released this morning. “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 outlined four major points to help keep the internet open and free. According to his plan, Internet providers would not be allowed to block websites that offer legal content, they would be unable to increase or decrease internet speeds, additional transparency would be required, and providers would be unable to offer fast lane service for an additional fee.

"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," said the President. "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."

Not only is President Obama asking that these conditions and reclassification be attributed to the internet, but he also asks the FCC to apply these changes to the mobile internet as well. Considering that mobile service hasn’t been subjected to the same net neutrality rules as wired connections have been, this would be a major change.

While many businesses have teamed up to weigh in on the net neutrality debate, asking that the internet be re-classified as a Telecommunications services, the FCC continues to work on a set of new rules that would give ISPs the ability to offer “fast lanes.” 

Shortly after the the President's proposal was posted, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler issued a statement that said, "As an independent regulatory agency we will incorporate the President’s submission into the record of the Open Internet proceeding. We welcome comment on it and how it proposes to use Title II of the Communications Act."

You can read the President’s full statement at