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FCC Commissioner Criticizes Obama for Misrepresenting Internet Regulation

© AP Photo / Evan VucciPresident Barack Obama pauses during a news conference in the East Room of the White House, on Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014, in Washington. Obama is telling Americans who voted for change: "I hear you.
President Barack Obama pauses during a news conference in the East Room of the White House, on Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014, in Washington. Obama is telling Americans who voted for change: I hear you. - Sputnik International
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The Federal Communications Commission commissioner said US President Barack Obama’s plan to regulate the Internet has been misrepresented to the American public and constitutes a massive intrusion into the Internet economy.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — US President Barack Obama’s plan to regulate the Internet has been misrepresented to the American public and constitutes a massive intrusion into the Internet economy, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Ajit Pai said in a statement.

“The American people are being misled about President Obama’s plan to regulate the Internet. Last week’s carefully stage-managed rollout was designed to downplay the plan’s massive intrusion into the Internet economy and to shield many critical details from the public,” Pai said on Tuesday, criticizing the plan and the decision by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to keep it from the public.

Pai listed six points regarding the plan that have been misrepresented. He said the plan would include rate regulations to determine if prices changed by broadband providers are “unjust or reasonable.” Another provision, he said, would place non-unlimited data plans on the “chopping block,” meaning that “consumers who use less data may end up subsidizing consumers who use more data.”

“President Obama’s plan gives the FCC broad and unprecedented discretion to micromanage the Internet,” Pai said, warning that additional regulations would be forthcoming in the future. Pai also accused Obama’s plan of opening the door to increased taxation on broadband, while legal provisions allowing lawyers to challenge broadband providers would lead to “more litigation and less innovation.”

Wednesday's announcement by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler marked a big victory for advocates of net neutrality. - Sputnik International
Victory for the Net? FCC Boss Proposes Making the Internet Public Utility
President Obama called on the FCC to “implement the strongest possible rules to protect net neutrality” after a federal court struck down existing regulations and 4 million net neutrality advocates petitioned the FCC for stronger protections, according to a statement posted on the White House’s website.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler outlined the Administration’s proposed new rules in a statement posted on the FCC’s website last week.

The proposal bars Internet service providers from blocking access to legal content, applications, or services, speeding up or slowing down access to content, or prioritizing certain sites in exchange for payment. For the first time, FCC rules would apply to mobile broadband Internet, the statement said.

According to the statement, the proposal would reclassify broadband Internet as a telecommunications service, a designation that gives the FCC authority to regulate the Internet like a public utility, and requires companies to provide Internet services to everyone at uniform rates.

Net neutrality advocates in the United States cautiously welcomed the new rules. “While we look forward to reviewing the details of the proposal, Chairman Wheeler’s decision to put forward legally defensible net neutrality rules is a landmark victory for free speech and the open internet," Gabe Rottman, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement.

The FCC will vote on the proposal on February 26, according to Chairman Wheeler’s statement.

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