Internet regulation: Not neutral about net neutrality

Hey, stop throttling my download

AMERICAN presidents rarely tell agencies such as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) publicly what to do. But Barack Obama’s statement, on November 10th, called for clarity in the debate about “net neutrality”—a cherished principle that all traffic on the internet should be treated equally. It is best served, he wrote, by regulating broadband internet services in the same way utilities are.However, the president’s intervention makes it even more unlikely that the FCC will finalise new rules on how internet-service providers (ISPs) should treat traffic on their networks this year, as it had planned to. And when it does publish them, the proposals will face strong legal and political headwinds. Big telecoms firms are preparing to sue if the rules do not suit them. The Republican-controlled Congress is likely to put up stiff resistance.So it would now be a surprise if net-neutrality rules were set by the time Mr Obama leaves office. In the meantime, investment in improving broadband speeds may slow. On November 12th AT&T, a big internet provider, said it would halt investment in boosting…

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