President Obama Says He's Against Fast Lanes On The Internet, But FCC Proposal Would Allow Them

from the time-to-call-mr.-wheeler dept

In some comments at the US Africa Leaders Summit in DC yesterday, President Obama claimed that he's absolutely against fast lanes and slow lanes on the internet -- which is pretty interesting given that his own FCC appears to be poised to allow exactly that:
Net neutrality in the United States -- one of the issues around net neutrality is whether you are creating different rates or charges for different content providers.

That's the big controversy here.

You have big, wealthy media companies who might be willing to pay more and also charge more for spectrum, more bandwidth on the Internet so they can stream movies faster.

I personally, the position of my administration, as well as a lot of the companies here, is that you don’t want to start getting a differentiation in how accessible the Internet is to different users.

You want to leave it open so the next Google and the next Facebook can succeed
Again, the current proposal from the FCC would actually allow just that. Of course, prepared remarks like these are carefully scoured by White House staff, so this isn't an offhand remark. As with Harry Reid's recent statements, it's entirely possible that this statement is a public nod towards Title II reclassification -- something that Wheeler has previously suggested there wasn't enough political support for. But if powerful Senators and the President are standing behind blocking fast and slow lanes, it certainly seems like the "there isn't political support" argument is quickly disappearing.

This certainly doesn't make it a done deal by any stretch of the imagination, but there is reason to believe that Wheeler has been using this comment period to see if there really would be political support for recassification. It's increasingly looking like there is -- and it's going to be up to Wheeler to see if he's willing to be a true leader and make the right call for how to protect an open and free internet, rather than the "easy" call.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2014 @ 6:00am

    You have big, wealthy media companies who might be willing to pay more and also charge more for spectrum, more bandwidth on the Internet so they can stream movies faster.

    Willing , that's laughable more like they were extorted " an or else "

    He needs to fire Wheeler and get someone in there that will actually take the position that it's the American people they're working for we still need a push to take the lobby out of politics , that is the main issue and topic or else loopholes will be created no matter what the rules .

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2014 @ 6:10am

    Fast lanes are nothing less than a monopolistic extortion scheme. It will therefore sap away funds from those who need it most - the (disruptive) startups - and should be outlawed.

     

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  3.  
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    Michael, Aug 6th, 2014 @ 6:16am

    President Obama claimed that he's absolutely against fast lanes and slow lanes on the internet

    However, fast lanes and hyper-speed lanes sounds great!

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2014 @ 6:19am

    all Obama is trying to do here is pass the buck. when things go shit-shaped and the FCC under Wheeler, introduces different broadband speeds so that those who can pay more will get a faster/better service, allowing them to charge more, he can say he was against it. if he was that bothered, he wouldn't have put Wheeler in charge of the FCC to begin with. this was done intentionally, knowing what was going to happen and give Wheeler all the blame. if Obama was truly interested in preventing different speed connections, he should prevent it, not just say 'i'm Mr Sqeaky Clean. i didn't want it, it was all his doing'! that is not a good way to get confidence from the people!

     

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  5.  
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    Ima Fish (profile), Aug 6th, 2014 @ 6:32am

    Can we stop buying into their arguments and stop calling them "fast lanes." Fast lanes sound awesome. Who wouldn't want a fast lane to the net?

    Let's call them what they really are: Throttled Lanes. Throttled for those sites that are not willing to pay twice.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2014 @ 6:45am

    'this was done intentionally, knowing what was going to happen and give Wheeler all the blamev'

    Oh, I don't know that this would be all that bad. Personally, I would be pleased to see a former-lobbyist-now-regulator tossed under the nearest available bus. Certainly might help prevent more government posts for such a person in the future, and as a bonus might puncture the current lobbyists' balloon that leaves them believing in their own invulnerability.

     

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  7.  
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    Rocco Maglio (profile), Aug 6th, 2014 @ 6:46am

    Obama does not do difficult decisions

    Obama does not do difficult decisions. He answers yes and no. He takes action, but is not responsible for the action since he was forced to do it, because of some other circumstances. He doesn't take action, but that is because it was someone else's fault. He is not into solutions since there is responsibility associated with that. He prefers to play the blame game. He would not be a great person to work with.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2014 @ 6:47am

    Re:

    What's more, they allow the final mile ISPs to pick winners and losers, by bundling access to various services with various packages. As in do you want unlimited fast access to Facebook, buy are cable package x, or mobile phone package y and it will be included.

     

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  9.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Aug 6th, 2014 @ 7:04am

    Re: Obama does not do difficult decisions

    Sounds like pretty much every politician ever actually, slow to actually do something, due to being risk averse and not wanting to get any blame on them if things go wrong, but perfectly fine with making grand, sweeping, but ultimately empty statements about 'what should be done.'

     

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  10.  
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    STJ, Aug 6th, 2014 @ 7:04am

    But he can't do anything

    all he has is a pen and a phone!!

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Howard (profile), Aug 6th, 2014 @ 7:16am

    Re:

    It's a wonder they do not get dizzy from all that spinning.

    Lanes should not exist period.

    An electricity company do not decide if you should use your purchased electricity to watch TV, vacuum clean ("normal lane") or use induction welders ("fast lane") as long as you pay for the electricity. The same applies to ISP: as long as you pay for x bandwidth, they do not get a say in what you're use that for.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2014 @ 7:16am

    What? Obama is once again saying stuff that represents the OPPOSITE of what he's actually doing?

    I'm shocked.

     

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  13.  
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    jackn, Aug 6th, 2014 @ 7:20am

    Re:

    "He needs to fire Wheeler and get someone in there that will actually take the position that it's the American people they're working for ..."

    Sorry, it has been sold. Wheeler and obama are doing exactly what they were paid to do. and that is, give the appearance of 'hope,' but of course, the end state is known all along, and progress is towards the desires of big media.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2014 @ 7:31am

    Re: 'this was done intentionally, knowing what was going to happen and give Wheeler all the blamev'

    Get tossed under the public bus only to escaping into a manhole and pop up in the lobby's ceo chair, Wheeler doesn't care , this whole thing is smoke and mirrors. he'll come out with millions in money acquired from his buddys and we'll be standing like a deer in the headlights of that same bus .

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2014 @ 7:53am

    Obama

    Obama is all about "say one thing, do another".

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2014 @ 7:59am

    does this signal that the President no longer has control over his cabinet?

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2014 @ 9:07am

    Re:

    Be aware how he is framing his comment:
    The essence is to protect small businesses from getting a higher entry-to-market costs. He doesn't specifically mention users.

    The gist seems to be to allow throttling a.la. "network optimization". I am certainly interested in his take on the model used by Netflix in this context. If both user throttling and a cooperative network optimization like what Netflix does is allowed, I would say the hole for having a combination thereof is wide open. The last step would be to sell packages with or without throttling based on the bitrates and other technical numbers to distinguish "the right services" and we have a complete circumvention.

     

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  18.  
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    NoNamesLeft, Aug 6th, 2014 @ 9:16am

    I have no problem with internet fastlanes for backbone companies but for ISPs, this shouldn't be allowed. People pay for internet access and the ISPs shouldnt be able to slow down content that the customers are already paying for.

     

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  19.  
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    scotts13 (profile), Aug 6th, 2014 @ 10:54am

    You want fast lanes?

    Make it a real, literal fast lane. Say you pay for 25 Mbps; you get that PLUS whatever is routed through the fast lane. Netflix wants (and pays for) 5, you get a total of 30. If you're watching two movies in different rooms, you get 35. Heck, put the signal through two different physical wires, if need be...

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2014 @ 1:58pm

    Say one thing, and then do the complete opposite. Politics and ex-telco lobbyists at their finest.

     

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  21.  
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    martyburns (profile), Aug 6th, 2014 @ 3:07pm

    Re:

    What about fast pipes and slow pipes?!

     

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  22.  
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    Rekrul, Aug 6th, 2014 @ 3:55pm

    As with Harry Reid's recent statements, it's entirely possible that this statement is a public nod towards Title II reclassification -- something that Wheeler has previously suggested there wasn't enough political support for.

    Or Obama is just telling people what they want to hear, like he's been doing since first campaigning to become president...

     

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  23.  
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    GEMont (profile), Aug 7th, 2014 @ 6:12pm

    ...nothing up my other sleeve....

    .... and then again, Mister Obama might have, you know, just sort of, you know, lied once again, in order to make everyone think he was on their side and not giving the go- ahead to his corporate buddies to start charging for fast lanes on the web and all that.... as usual.

    I mean, its not like he hasn't done the same sort of thing in the past.... repeatedly.

    Personally, if it comes out of his mouth, I'd give it about a 10% chance to be even partially true. I mean hell, he was hired by Wall Street because he can sell shit as shinola better than anyone else they interviewed for the job.

    But if its about something that Corporate America holds near and dear to its heart, I'd assume its 100% pure bovine fecal matter, delivered as usual, on a silver palate.

    ---

     

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  24.  
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    P.H, Aug 9th, 2014 @ 1:28am

    Please forgive for being slow and off topic, but we don't need Beacon to read these? Awesome, cause I hate their layout and logging in .
    *Off to delete a Beacon account.

     

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  25.  
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    GEMont (profile), Aug 9th, 2014 @ 12:16pm

    Beacon?

    Please forgive me for being uninformed and curious, but what the heck is Beacon??

    Is that like the "service" that took over the posting process at TruthDig??

     

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