Obama proposes ban on paid prioritization on the Internet

Written by: 
Jared Roberts ~ Multimedia Journalist

The progression of technology has led BYU-Hawaii students to offer their insight on Obama’s new endorsement on net neutrality.

“The internet has changed our economy and the way we operate,” said Alex Milne, a sophomore from California studying business. “It’s the basis of most jobs and it connects everyone around the world.”

President Obama released a statement on the concept of net neutrality explaining that, “an open Internet is essential to the American economy, and increasingly to our very way of life,” according to USA Today.

Net neutrality is a term that was created by Columbia University professor, Tim Wu, and is a principle that Internet service providers and governments should treat all data on the Internet equally and not discriminate or charge differently by user or platform.

USA Today also stated that Obama asked the Federal Communications Commission to “create a new set of rules protecting net neutrality” and to make sure that data providers will not be “gatekeepers, restricting what you can do or see online.” The FCC has yet to make a full decision.

“I think we are nearing the point where the Internet is almost a necessity for not only companies, but individuals themselves,” said Cassidy Manning, a sophomore from Nevada studying TESOL.

Obama pushed for an explicit ban on “paid prioritization,” which is an agreement where providers who use large amounts of content pay Internet companies for better and faster delivery. Companies such as Netflix, Amazon and YouTube are a few companies that fall under these high-traffic sites.

Companies like Verizon stated that the approach the FCC has had in place for the past two decades has been the key to the Internet’s success. They also stated that the new rules would invite “strong legal challenges,” according to CNN.

Additionally, companies say that the regulation will make network upgrades slower and possibly raise prices.

“I feel like the idea is really clear and cut,” said Ethan Secrist, a sophomore from Idaho studying ICS. “There’s always going to be pros and cons to any legal decision, but we won’t know for sure until we actually try.”

People in favor of net neutrality have stated that Obama’s statement gives political cover for the FCC to do the right thing, according to USA Today.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said in an interview with CNN, “Like the President, I believe that the Internet must remain an open platform for free expression, we cannot allow broadband networks to cut special deals to prioritize Internet traffic and harm consumers, competition and innovation.”