Here Is Obama’s Crucial Plan To Keep the Internet Open and Free

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This morning, the White House released a video in which Obama lays out his plan on how to protect an open and free Internet; in other words, protect “Net Neutrality.”

Over the last several months, the term “Net Neutrality” has gained widespread popularity. John Oliver of HBO’s Last Week Tonight put it best when he said that “Net Neutrality… essentially means that all data has to be treated equally no matter who creates it.”

The quickly increasing volume of the conversation around Net Neutrality was caused by the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) decision, earlier this year, to support a two-tiered Internet, which would essentially give big corporations like Comcast and Verizon the ability (simply by paying a premium for better Internet service) to push their data to consumers faster than smaller competitors, such as start-up companies and small businesses.

“Ending Net Neutrality would allow big companies to buy their way into the fast lane leaving everyone else in the slow lane,” John Oliver adds in his poignant explanation of the issue.

It would essentially distort the Internet as we know it, as it could increase premium-paying corporations’ chance to influence what consumers will see on their screens, and slower services might run the risk of quickly becoming irrelevant as a result.

That’s why today’s announcement by President Obama was a seismic shift in the Net Neutrality debate as he asks the FCC directly to classify the Internet as an essential part and utility of every American’s life.

“I’m urging the Federal Communications Commission to do everything they can to protect Net Neutrality for everyone. They should make it clear that whether you use a computer, phone, or tablet, Internet providers have a legal obligation not to block or limit your access to a website. Cable companies can’t decide which online stores you can shop at or which streaming services you can use. And they can’t let any company pay for priority over its competitors,” Obama said in his announcement.

Pointing out the fact that the FCC is an independent agency and that the final decision over Net Neutrality ultimately lies with them, he made it clear that “the public has commented nearly 4 million times asking the FCC to make sure that consumers, not the cable company, gets to decide which sites they use. Americans are making their voices heard, and are standing up for the principles that make the Internet a powerful force for change. As long as I’m President, that’s what I’ll be fighting for, too.”

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The FCC has already responded in an official letter that acknowledges President Obama’s concern and agreed that “we must take the time to get the job done correctly… in order to successfully protect consumers and innovators online.” You can read the full letter here.

This is a very positive and welcome development in the on-going debate to protect the Internet as we know it. To see Obama’s full announcement, check out the video above… you will notice the “Buffering” delay in the beginning, which most likely is the White House’s way of giving people a taste for a two-tiered Internet and pointing out how important this issue has become.

For a more entertaining, yet just as poignant speech, take a look at John Oliver’s now infamous appeal to Internet “trolls” around the country.


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