President Warns Against What His FCC Chairman Proposes

Yesterday, President Obama warned “big, wealthy media companies” that control Internet access could stifle innovation if they restrict the openness that has been its hallmark. We hope the President’s hand-picked Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission was listening.  Because Chairman Wheeler’s net neutrality initiative proposes to do precisely what the President decries: create fast lanes on the Internet that will make some websites run faster than others, if they buy faster access from Internet Service Providers — the “big, wealthy media companies.”  This, of course, will have a massive negative impact on the Internet’s openness, as it degrades the service to those websites that won’t or can’t afford to pay — likely those that are the new disruptive innovators.  To paraphrase Orwell in his classic Animal Farm after the farm’s government was overthrown by the Bad Guys: “All websites are created equal. Some are more equal than others.”

Perhaps, in a play on the old Verizon commercial — Verizon being one of those “big, wealthy media companies” — the President can call Chairman Wheeler and ask, “Can you hear me? Can you hear me now?”

John Eggerton’s article in Broadcasting and Cable is here.