By tech editor Ian Bush
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — President Obama is taking a stand on net neutrality, and Comcast and other cable companies don’t like it one bit.READ MORE: Sources: Missing Bucks County Woman Casey Johnston's Car Found In Northeast Philadelphia
The FCC heard from nearly four million online commenters on the issue. Now, in an official video, Pres. Obama says he sides with those who don’t want companies to be able to pay for “fast lane access” to your computer (or smartphone) screen.
The president’s stance supports government regulation of the Internet as a public utility — similar to traditional phone lines, according to Engadget senior editor Ben Gilbert.
“If you call your mother, it’s just as fast as if you called Comcast or any other company,” Gilbert explains. “Basically, the concept is that big companies could afford to alter the way that utility works so there is easier access to them.”READ MORE: 1 Day, 8 Tornadoes: A Look At This Week's Severe Weather Across The Tri-State Area
But in a statement, Comcast vice president David Cohen says classifying the Internet under what’s called “Title II” would be intrusive and “would harm investment and innovation.”
He points toward “today’s immediate stock market reaction” — drops between two and four percent in Comcast, Time Warner, Cablevision, and Charter Communications stock prices — as evidence of the “radical reversal” that a “full-blown Title II regime” would be for the Internet.
Cable companies want to be able to reach deals with online services like Netflix, Amazon, and Youtube to move their content faster. They say “fast lanes” is a mischaracterization, since other content you’re browsing wouldn’t be slowed.
The FCC doesn’t have to listen to the president, or to the cable companies. The commission is expected to decide on net neutrality rules by the end of the year.MORE NEWS: Philadelphia Restaurants Martha, Irwin's Upstairs To Require Proof Of COVID-19 Vaccination For Indoor Dining