What Obama means by Net Neutrality

How candidate Obama, co-sponsor of net neutrality legislation, explained what he meant by Net Neutrality in his campaign promises:

Protect the Openness of the Internet: A key reason the Internet has been such a success is because it is the most open network in history.  It needs to stay that way. Barack Obama strongly supports the principle of network neutrality to preserve the benefits of open competition on the Internet.  Users must be free to access content, to use applications, and to attach personal devices.  They have a right to receive accurate and honest information about service plans.  But these guarantees are not enough to prevent network providers from discriminating in ways that limit the freedom of expression on the Internet.  Because most Americans only have a choice of only one or two broadband carriers, carriers are tempted to impose a toll charge on content and services, discriminating against websites that are unwilling to pay for equal treatment. This could create a two-tier Internet in which websites with the best relationships with network providers can get the fastest access to consumers, while all competing websites remain in a slower lane. Such a result would threaten innovation, the open tradition and architecture of the Internet, and competition among content and backbone providers. It would also threaten the equality of speech through which the Internet has begun to transform American political and cultural discourse.  Barack Obama supports the basic principle that network providers should not be allowed to charge fees to privilege the content or applications of some web sites and Internet applications over others. This principle will ensure that the new competitors, especially small or non-profit speakers, have the same opportunity as incumbents to innovate on the Internet and to reach large audiences.  Obama will protect the Internet’s traditional openness to innovation and creativity and ensure that it remains a platform for free speech and innovation that will benefit consumers and our democracy.

 

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