Monday, 10 November 2014
Cable companies 'stunned' by Obama's 'extreme' net neutrality proposals
America’s major telecoms and cable companies and business groups came out fighting almost immediately after Barack Obama called for tough new regulations for broadband that would protect net neutrality, saying they were “stunned” by the president’s proposals.
The president called for new regulations on Monday to protect “net neutrality” – the principle that all traffic on the internet should be treated equally. His move came as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) finalises a new set of proposals for regulation after the old rules were overturned by a series of court defeats at the hands of cable and telecom companies.
In response, Republican senator Ted Cruz went so far as to call Obama’s proposal for regulating the web “Obamacare for the internet”, saying on Twitter “the internet should not operate at the speed of government.”
The powerful National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA), which represents cable companies including Comcast and Time Warner said it was “stunned” by the president’s proposals.
“The cable industry strongly supports an open internet, is building an open internet, and strongly believes that over-regulating the fastest growing technology in our history will not advance the cause of internet freedom,” said NCTA president Michael Powell, former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which is now rewriting the internet rules.
The cable and telcoms giants are particularly concerned by Obama’s call for FCC to reclassify consumer broadband service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act. Such a move would reclassify consumer internet as a “common carrier” service – like the telephone – and give the regulator greater power to control prices and services.
“We are stunned the president would abandon the longstanding, bipartisan policy of lightly regulating the internet and [call] for extreme Title II regulation,” said Powell.
Culed from The Guardian.