As FCC releases comments, major figures speak out
It was the talk of the town all summer long – over a million American citizens wrote to the Federal Communications Commission to weigh in on the hot button topic that is net neutrality after being spurred to action but a number of high profile figures. After the commenting period ended after over a month, the FCC remained quiet for a while, but no longer. The 1.4 million thoughts submitted to the agency have now been unleashed on the public, motivating a fair amount of public figures to react to the enormous public outrage that the movement has caused some quiet figures to voice their opinions. For better or for worse, here are some of the leaders in politics and media weighing in on the plight of the everyman who seeks net neutrality.
President Obama speaks out on freedom of speech on the Internet
A notably absent voice throughout the net neutrality debate has been our own President, who has maintained many long-standing relationships with Internet Service Provider executives that have been in place for decades. PC World reported that his public attitude toward the matter has been quite different when making comments about the emergent issue to 21-year-old Takunda Chingonzo, a Zimbabwean entrepreneur who worked in the wireless tech space.
"[W]hat has facilitated the incredible value that's been built by companies like Google and Facebook and so many others – all the applications that you find on your smartphone – is that there are not restrictions, there are not barriers to entry for new companies who have a good idea to use this platform that is open to create value," the source reported Obama as saying. "And it is very important, I think, that we maintain that."
This will either resonate with fellow citizens as a relief or a bluff – though the President appears to have sided with the people, the statement indicates no intended actions to be taken versus the FCC and other legislators who possess the ability to push the "fast lane" of the Internet through. As final legislation draws closer, the President's professional opinion will likely become more clear.
Some remain critical on real impact of net neutrality
In the frenzy of public and political back-and-forth, there's also been significant discussion about the legitimacy of outrage over the issue of net neutrality. Wall Street Journal contributor and columnist Gordon Crovitz argued that the concern for the matter may be displaced, and that the "fast lane" has been in existence for quite some time.
"If it weren't for these fast lanes, the Web would have screeched to a halt when photos and video began to supplement text-based traffic," he explained in a recent column. "At peak times, Netflix alone now accounts for one-third of all Internet traffic. If it weren't using its own network to cache video locally around the world, other traffic on the Web would get hung up or delayed."
Creating these fast lanes wouldn't devastate the rest of the Internet, Crovitz argued, but would simply make it easier for users to access the sites they use the most that take up significant bandwidth – Neflix is an excellent example. Similar claims have been made by other media critics, but the public has remained staunch on their place of opposition.
This autumn will truly be the moment of reckoning for the citizens who voiced their opinions on the Internet to the entity that possesses the ability to change it – while there are still no precise answers, the continued coverage of the event speaks volumes about its importance in society.