Net neutrality, the idea that the Internet should be accessible to everyone equally without provisions for fast lanes for those willing to pay extra, has been a stated policy of President Barack Obama since he ran for the presidency and was elected to his first term in 2008.
Now, following a Republican takeover of the U.S. Senate after the November general election, the GOP appears poised to battle the president and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on the issue of net neutrality in both the House and in the Senate, according to a Dec. 29 report from Politico.
"The Federal Communications Commission is racing to write rules that require Internet service providers to treat all Web traffic equally, and many expect the agency will follow President Barack Obama's call to treat broadband service like a utility," according to the Politico report. "Some GOP members are planning to use their soon-to-be majority status to knock down the FCC's net neutrality actions, perhaps even before any rules are announced in early 2015. And the growing tensions threaten to spill over into larger policy debates, as Congress takes on the complex process of updating the nation's central communications laws."
If the GOP follows through with such a plan, especially if it's just a political move to show their constant and unwavering disdain for Obama and his policies, then the Republicans are just wrong.
Net neutrality is a good thing because it attempts to protect all users of the Internet from being less important than bigger entities that would have no problem paying extra for faster access than the majority. An equal Internet is a fair Internet, while a two-tiered Internet that allows rich parties to influence service for all is unfair on its face.
The issue of net neutrality has been a hotbed for several years, with proponents and opponents arguing their positions and bashing the opposition verbally in public forums and discussions. In September, the FCC announced that it had received a record 3 million comments about proposed rules for net neutrality by a Sept. 15 deadline, according to an earlier eWEEK report.
This fall, officials from AT&T, Comcast and Verizon told U.S. leaders that they do not plan to offer faster Internet access, or so-called "fast lanes," to content producers who are willing to pay more to get their messages out in front of competitors' transmissions.
The issue continues to generate arguments and discussions, and that's fine because it is part of our system of government.
But for Congressional Republicans to oppose needed net neutrality rules because they are tired of Obama and his presidency is juvenile and counter-productive for our nation. They may not like him, but news flash—Obama is still our president for the next two years—and they'd better find ways of moving our nation forward rather than continuing their policies of obstruction.