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President Obama wants internet to be considered a utility

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Zach McAuliffe
Zach McAuliffe is a University of Dayton alumni with degrees in journalism and English. He wants to present people with all the facts they need to make informed decisions on the world around them. He also enjoys Shakespeare and long walks on the beach with his puppy Lily.

After months of plans to create “high-speed” and “slow-speed” broadband connections at different costs, President Obama has come forward urging the FCC to reclassify the internet as a public utility.

“The time has come for the FCC to recognize that broadband service is of the same importance [as the traditional telephone system] and must carry the same obligations as so many of the other vital services do,” President Obama wrote in a statement released on the White House’s website.  “To do that, I believe the FCC should reclassify consumer broadband service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act…”

The internet usage described by the president is not exclusive to laptop and desktop computers however.  Internet usage across mobile devices, such as cell phones, would also be covered.

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[T]he rules also have to reflect the way people use the Internet today, which increasingly means on a mobile device,” the statement continued.  “I believe the FCC should make these rules fully applicable to mobile broadband as well, while recognizing the special challenges that come with managing wireless networks.”

As part of the call for reclassification, ARS Technica writes some basic rules would need to be implemented.  Some of these rules include not blocking particular websites, internet speeds should not be throttled, and there should not be a difference in a services speed based on what they pay.

President Obama said, according to the Hill, making two different speeds for internet service would “undermine the level playing field essential to the Internet’s growth…”  

This is not the first time President Obama has spoke out against internet “fast-lanes” either.  In October, the president spoke at a town hall meeting in California where he called for a ban on “fast-lanes” but offered no plan on how to do so.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said he agrees the internet should not be advantage to some and not others, but at the same time said he and the FCC were working on a “hybrid” plan which would regulate transactions between websites and internet service providers.

The new FCC plan is expected to be unveiled by year’s end.

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