White House: Net Neutrality: President Obama’s Plan For A Free And Open Internet
An open Internet is essential to the American economy, and increasingly to our very way of life. By lowering the cost of launching a new idea, igniting new political movements, and bringing communities closer together, it has been one of the most significant democratizing influences the world has ever known. “Net neutrality” has been built into the fabric of the Internet since its creation — but it is also a principle that we cannot take for granted. We cannot allow Internet service providers (ISPs) to restrict the best access or to pick winners and losers in the online marketplace for services and ideas. That is why today, I am asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to answer the call of almost 4 million public comments, and implement the strongest possible rules to protect net neutrality.
No blocking. If a consumer requests access to a website or service, and the content is legal, your ISP should not be permitted to block it. That way, every player — not just those commercially affiliated with an ISP — gets a fair shot at your business. No throttling. Nor should ISPs be able to intentionally slow down some content or speed up others — through a process often called “throttling” — based on the type of service or your ISP’s preferences. Increased transparency. The connection between consumers and ISPs — the so-called “last mile” — is not the only place some sites might get special treatment. So, I am also asking the FCC to make full use of the transparency authorities the court recently upheld, and if necessary to apply net neutrality rules to points of interconnection between the ISP and the rest of the Internet. No paid prioritization. Simply put: No service should be stuck in a “slow lane” because it does not pay a fee. That kind of gatekeeping would undermine the level playing field essential to the Internet’s growth. So, as I have before, I am asking for an explicit ban on paid prioritization and any other restriction that has a similar effect.
Good news, America. Our president, Barack Obama, is finally standing up for the internet, and asking the FCC to classify it as a public utility. In other words, he’s asking the agency not to allow destructive things like fast lanes (a.k.a. paid prioritization) or throttling. It’s a great day! At least, today’s news is a great step in the right direction. So Obama’s asked the FCC to reclassify the internet as a public utility, like electricity or water. This means a lot of things. Suffice it to say that the internet gets a better square on the Monopoly board. Instead of just being a regular piece of real estate that can be bought or sold or modified or destroyed, the internet would enjoy a number of regulatory protections if it were classified under Title II of the Telecommunications Act. The White House points out in a blog post about Obama’s statement that the reclassification would represent a “basic acknowledgement of the services ISPs provide to American homes and businesses, and the straightforward obligations necessary to ensure the network works for everyone—not just one or two companies.” That sounds about right. The internet was designed to be a free and open tool for communications.
About an hour after the White House released the statement, Tim Wu tweeted:
Tim Wu is the Columbia Law School professor who invented the term “net neutrality.” So if he likes Obama’s policy, today is a terrific day for the internet. And it actually sounds like he loves the policy. Keep this in mind when you wonder if it’ll work. Will the FCC actually write new rules that conform to the president’s wishes? We don’t know. We can’t know until they do or they don’t! Think of it this way, though. The FCC is not the American people’s favorite agency right now. More than one individual commissioner has even admitted that the existing rules are bad. Meanwhile, the experts who understand how the internet works better than the FCC does say that Obama’s plan is “100% on target.” It’s the FCC’s job to listen to experts and do what’s best for the American people. Now would be a good time for the FCC to do its job.
President Obama makes the thumbs up sign as he ends a speech about his ConnectED goal of connecting 99% of students to next generation broadband and wireless technology within five years, Tuesday, Feb. 4, at Buck Lodge Middle School in Adelphi, Md
Today, President Obama visited Buck Lodge Middle School in Adelphi, Maryland to announce major progress on the ConnectED initiative, designed to enrich K-12 education for every student in America. ConnectED empowers teachers with the best technology and the training to make the most of it, and empowers students through individualized learning and rich, digital content.
Preparing America’s students with the skills they need to get good jobs and compete with countries around the world relies increasingly on interactive, personalized learning experiences driven by new technology. Yet fewer than 30% of America’s schools have the broadband they need to connect to today’s technology. Under ConnectED, however, 99% of American students will have access to next-generation broadband by 2017. That connectivity will help transform the classroom experience for all students, regardless of income.
As the President announced today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will invest $2 billion over the next two years to dramatically expand high-speed Internet connectivity for America’s schools and libraries — connecting more than 20 million students to next-generation broadband and wireless. He also announced that private-sector companies have committed more than $750 million to deliver cutting-edge technologies to classrooms, including:
Apple, which will donate $100 million in iPads, MacBooks, and other products, along with content and professional development tools to enrich learning in disadvantaged U.S. schools
AT&T, which pledged more than $100 million to give middle school students free Internet connectivity for educational devices over their wireless network for three years
Autodesk, which pledged to make their 3D design program “Design the Future” available for free in every secondary school in the U.S. — more than $250 million in value
Microsoft, which will launch a substantial affordability program open to all U.S. public schools by deeply discounting the price of its Windows operating system, which will decrease the price of Windows-based devices
O’Reilly Media, which is partnering with Safari Books Online to make more than $100 million in educational content and tools available for free to every school in the U.S.
Sprint, which will offer free wireless service for up to 50,000 low-income high school students over the next four years, valued at $100 million
Verizon, which announced a multi-year program to support ConnectED through up to $100 million in cash and in-kind commitments
President Obama visits Buck Lodge Middle School
Dotster: President Obama’s announcements today are so important in bringing opportunity and advantage to all. I know my Ct. grandkids’ school has provided ipads to all students for 2 or 3 years now. It’s a great neighborhood school with kids from all backgrounds due to participation in a successful bussing program from the inner city. I’m not sure of the details, but I know they have a real aggressive PTO which went after grants and donations from the business community for funding for the ipads and other innovative programs. Similar advantages at the very diverse h.s. where my daughter teaches in Indy which has state of the art everything. Eli Lilly there and other corporate donors have also figured out that an educated, successful community is good for them, good for all. A win-win. It is very encouraging that this kind of opportunity will now be more widely available——it will indeed make a huge difference. Good to see the corp. community stepping up, doing some good for a nice change.
The ConnectED initiative will, within five years, connect 99 percent of America’s students to the digital age through next-generation broadband and high-speed wireless in their schools and libraries. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and companies like Apple, Microsoft, Sprint, and Verizon are already providing their support, collectively pledging to connect more than 15,000 schools and 20 million students by the end of 2015.
ConnectED will also provide better broadband access for students in rural areas, by expanding successful efforts to connect parts of the country that typically have trouble attracting investment in broadband infrastructure.
Our teachers are being asked to do more than ever, and they need to be equipped with better tools to help them succeed. Fortunately, technology can play a central role in this.
For example, new digital education tools that allow for real-time assessments of student learning, provide more immediate feedback to drive professional development, and enable the creation of interactive online lessons can empower teachers to understand each student’s strengths and weaknesses and design lessons and activities that better meet their needs.
The ConnectED initiative invests in improving the skills of teachers, ensuring that every educator in America receives support and training in using education technology tools that can improve student learning.
Additionally, ConnectED will lead to new resources for teachers from any school, at any time, to open their classrooms to interactive demonstrations, lessons from world-renowned experts, or the opportunity to build learning communities and to collaborate with other educators across the country or world.
Encouraging private-sector innovation
Educational devices supported by high-speed networks are the portal to the world of online learning and interactive content, to personalized education software that adapts to students’ needs, and to breakthrough advances in assessing understanding and mastery.
These devices give students access to more rigorous and engaging classes, new learning resources, rich visualizations of complex concepts, and instruction in any foreign language. They also give students more opportunities to work at their own speed and receive additional one-on-one help they need to develop their knowledge and skills.
Leading technology companies are capable of producing feature-rich educational devices that are price-competitive with basic textbooks. And a robust market in educational software can unlock the full educational potential of broadband investment, while creating American jobs and export opportunities in a global education marketplace of more than $1 trillion.
President Obama greets a member of the audience during a visit to Buck Lodge Middle School
James Richardson, principal of Buck Lodge Middle School, celebrates with his students and teachers after President Barack Obama spoke at their school