President Obama released a statement on November 10 regarding net neutrality in which he urged the Federal Communications Commission to “implement the strongest possible rules to protect net neutrality.”
Net neutrality has been a hotly contested debate between the public and tech giants like Google, against internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon. If net neutrality is not upheld, Comcast and Verizon would be able to restrict the internet speeds on certain websites, forcing companies to pay money for faster speeds. A situation like this would favor larger companies able to pay the “bribe” and limit the growth of smaller companies residing on the internet.
President Obama called for Title II of the Telecommunications Act to be applied to internet service providers. An application of Title II would regulate paid prioritization and prevent service providers from intentionally slowing internet speeds. Companies like Comcast, Verizon, and Time Warner Cable have spoken out on the issue. Comcast has publicly stated they support net neutrality but do not want Title II of the Telecommunications act to be applied. Comcast, and other service providers, would much rather have Section 706 of the act applied because the FCC would only be able to impose lighter regulations.
In the past when the FCC imposed rules on net neutrality, federal courts determined they did not have the power to force I.S.P.s to treat all traffic equally. The courts ruled in favor of service providers because the are not classified as common carriers, who are required to pass information through their networks without preference.
It will be difficult to predict how the FCC will choose to attack net neutrality this time around, but with the support of the president, the future of an open internet looks bright for users.