Friday, January 31, 2014

Obama's January 31, 2014 Net Neutrality Comments

Question from Art Hernandez in Tempe: 

… I have two daughters who currently live on the east coast and as you might expect I can't afford to visit them as frequently as I'd like to. So the only opportunity that we get to spend time together is through the Internet on video chats such as this one.

My question today has to do with Net Neutrality and the recent US court of appeals ruling almost disregarding the rule of a fair and neutral Internet.

I'm curious to know if you support Net Neutrality and how you feel about the court's decision and how that decision will impact the U.S. Economy and the Internet as we currently know it?

... It's something that I have cared deeply about ever since I ran for office, in part  because my own campaign was empowered by a free and open Internet and the ability for citizens all over this country to engage and create and  find new ways and new tools to mobilize themselves. A lot of that couldn't have been done if there were a bunch of commercial barriers and road blocks. And so I have been a strong supporter of Net Neutrality.

The new commissioner of the FCC, Tom Wheeler, who I appointed, I know is a strong supporter of Net Neutrality. You know we live under a system in which when a court rules, we have to respect that ruling initially but the FCC and Tom Wheeler are looking at all the options at their disposal. 

Potential appeals, potential rule making, a variety of tools that they may have in order to continue to vindicate the notion of a free and open Internet. And I think you can feel confident that this administration will continue to support that. There are going to be a lot of technical issues about how best we can get to that. And I know that they are still evaluating the court opinion. 

The one good piece of news coming out of this court opinion was that the court did confirm that the FCC can regulate this space. They have authority. And the question now is how do they use that authority if the old systems and rulings that they had in place were not effective in preserving Net Neutrality, do they have other tools that would stand up to court scrutiny that accomplishes the same goals. 

And you can expect that even though the FCC is independent, once I make the appointment, I can't meddle in the decision making there. Based on my conversations with Tom Wheeler before he was appointed , I'm pretty confident and they've said already that they're going to be exploring how they would continue to uphold that.

It's what makes the Internet so special.

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