Obama Reiterates Support for Network Neutrality
President Obama used a YouTube appearance Feb. 1 to again state his support
for network neutrality. Following Obama's Jan. 27 State of the Union address,
YouTube collected questions and votes on questions for five days. The
crowdsourced interview was the first given by the president since his speech.
A question involving network neutrality received more than 1,300 votes, placing it at the top of the list in the "jobs and economy" category.
"I'm a big believer in net neutrality," Obama said. "I campaigned on this. I continue to be a strong supporter of it. My FCC [Federal Communications Commission] Chairman Julius Genachowski has indicated that he shares the view that we've got to keep the Internet open, that we don't want to create a bunch of gateways that prevent somebody who doesn't have a lot of money but has a good idea from being able to start their next YouTube or their next Google on the Internet."
Under Genachowski, the FCC is developing a Congressionally ordered national broadband plan, and network neutrality has been one of the most hotly contested issues. Literally thousands of pages of comments have been filed, both pro and con. The report is due to Congress in March.
At the same time, the FCC's existing network neutrality principles are under legal attack. Comcast claims these principles have no legal standing. although the cable giant agreed to abide by them after the FCC found Comcast guilty of throttling traffic from peer-to-peer services.
"This is something we're committed to," Obama said. "We're getting push-back, obviously, from some of the bigger carriers who would like to be able to charge more fees and extract more money from wealthier customers. But we think that runs counter to the whole spirit of openness that has made the Internet such a powerful engine for not only economic growth, but also for the generation of ideas and creativity."