In a recent statement urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to adopt strict new rules for “net neutrality,” President Barack Obama took his strongest stance to date on the future of the Internet – and ignited what’s certain to be fierce debate.
“An open Internet is essential to the American economy, and increasingly to our very way of life,” said Obama. “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.”
In addition to urging the FCC to ban such practices as “blocking” and the creation of Internet “fast lanes,” Obama also took the step of asking the FCC to reclassify consumer broadband services as a public utility regulated by Title II of the Telecommunications Act.
While it’s tempting to oversimplify the debate or look at it from a purely ideological standpoint, the issues of net neutrality and reclassification involve complex questions about the purpose of regulation and the true state of competition in the telecommunications industry.
Here are three differing perspectives, culled from our archives, that go to the heart of the issues most salient to this debate:
- A Q&A with former Assistant Secretary of Commerce Everett Ehrlich on the state of broadband competition and the impacts of net neutrality on innovation;
- Commentary from former Congresswoman Eva M. Clayton on the impacts of regulation on universal Internet access; and
- Commentary from David Sohn from the Center for Democracy & Technology on the case for an open Internet.