US President Barack Obama has nailed his colours to the mast of net neutrality, as he urged the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to fully embrace the principle in its new rules on internet governance.
The FCC, an independent governmental agency, is currently drawing up new rules on internet governance which are expected to be released early next year.
Obama said he wants the internet to remain “free and open” as he called upon the FCC to adopt the “strongest possible rules” to enforce net neutrality.
The US President called upon the agency to recognise internet service as a common utility, by reclassifying it under Title II of the Telecommunications Act.
"In plain English, I'm asking [the FCC] to recognize that for most Americans, the internet has become an essential part of everyday communication and everyday life”, Obama explained.
The idea of net neutrality focuses on the principle that all internet traffic should be treated equally by Internet service providers and governments. It argues that internet service providers such as BT or Sky in the UK should have no control of where traffic on their service goes.
Google has faced protests at its hub in Silicon Valley for not doing enough to support net neutrality.
In his statement, Obama said:
Ever since the internet was created, it's been organised around basic principles of openness, fairness and freedom.There are no gatekeepers deciding which sites you get to access, there are no toll roads on the information superhighway. This set of principles, the idea of net neutrality, has unleashed the power of the internet and given innovators the chance to thrive.Abandoning these principles would threaten to end the internet as we know it.That’s why I’m laying out a plan to keep the internet free and open, that’s why I’m urging the federal communications commission to do everything they can to protect net neutrality for everyone.
Watch the statement in full below: