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Congress

Obama Praises Net Neutrality Order

December 21, 2010

President Obama weighed in Tuesday in support of the FCC's approval of network neutrality rules, describing the move as an important part of his administration's efforts to advance "American innovation, economic growth, and job creation."

In a statement Tuesday, Obama said the FCC's vote "will help preserve the free and open nature of the Internet while encouraging innovation, protecting consumer choice, and defending free speech."

Obama noted that as a candidate for the White House he campaigned in favor of network neutrality rules "to preserve the freedom and openness that have allowed the Internet to become a transformative and powerful platform for speech and expression. That's a pledge I'll continue to keep as president. As technology and the market continue to evolve at a rapid pace, my administration will remain vigilant and see to it that innovation is allowed to flourish, that consumers are protected from abuse, and that the democratic spirit of the Internet remains intact."

In February, Obama reiterated his support for rules that would bar broadband providers from discriminating against Internet content, applications or services.

"We don't want to create a bunch of gateways that prevent somebody who doesn't have a lot of money but has a good idea from being able to start their next YouTube or their next Google on the Internet," Obama said during a question-and-answer session on YouTube.

But some supporters of net neutrality voiced disappointment with the FCC's order, saying it contains too many loopholes, particularly in not applying all the rules to wireless broadband.

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee went even further, saying that Obama had backed off his campaign pledge to protect the open Internet.

"For the first time in history, the U.S. government approved corporate censorship of the Internet, putting the future of online free speech at risk. Unbelievably, the person leading the charge was Obama appointee Julius Genachowski," the group said in an e-mail alert to supporters. "This also violates President Obama's campaign promise to protect net neutrality."

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