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Stop the Secrecy

Slate: President Obama needs to lead on Net Neutrality

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 15:57 -- Eva Prkachin

The FCC received 3 million comments about the Internet Slow Lane. Here's why they need 3 million and one.

Article by Marvin Ammori for Slate

The FCC has received more than 3 million comments on Commissioner Tom Wheeler’s controversial plan to rethink net neutrality. If the last couple of million comments are anything like the first 1.1 million, 99 percent of commenters were strongly in favor of protecting net neutrality. They include startups, small businesses, artists, and small- and medium-size broadband providers, among many others.

One comment was missing, though—President Obama’s. While President Obama campaigned heavily on net neutrality and recently reiterated his support for it, he hasn’t filed a thing to the FCC. The president has alluded to the FCC being an independent agency, and therefore suggested he should not publicly encourage the commission to fulfill his campaign promises. Yet since becoming president, his Executive Branch has submitted more than 200 filings to the FCC in over 80 proceedings. (If you want proof, see this spreadsheet.)

If the administration were to file comments, it might come through a White House office, such as the National Economic Council or the Office of Science & Technology Policy, or the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). In 2009, the NTIA submitted comments telling the FCC that the “NTIA expects to offer views on the issues presented in [the network neutrality] rulemaking at the appropriate time.” You would think that we have reached the appropriate time. But President Obama has stood largely silent while his FCC chairman, Tom Wheeler, barrels toward dismantling an open Internet and threatening the entire economy that now rides atop it.

- Read more at Slate