Obama Says Reclassifying Internet Way to Protect Communications Rights

STATEMENT: Obama Says Reclassifying Internet Under Title II Right Way to Protect Our Right To Communicate

This morning, President Barack Obama released a powerful, unambiguous statement in support of reclassifying the internet as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act.  He also noted that mobile internet – on phone and tablet, as well as computer – should be protected under Title II.  After the Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler pushed to establish rules that would allow big communications companies to speed up or slow down communities’ speech, millions of Americans from all walks of life sent comments to the Federal Communications Commission against this plan.  Today, President Obama came out in support of rules that would protect our right to communicate without discrimination from big cable and telecom companies.

The statement below can be attributed to Bryan Mercer, co-Executive Director at Media Mobilizing Project:

“Here in the hometown of Comcast, America’s biggest media company, we know all too well what it means to give big cable free reign to shape how we communicate and organize for justice.  President Obama did the right thing today by stating that his appointee, Chairman Tom Wheeler, and the entire FCC should protect the internet as a human right – on the many technologies we use to communicate. 

When Chairman Wheeler came to Philadelphia earlier this fall, he heard how important the right to communicate was to poor and working communities – from disability justice advocates and the last black-owned radio station in the state, to rural advocates, taxi drivers, and public access television stations.  It is communities like these who should shape the future of the internet, guaranteeing it as a human right – not big cable companies who put profits before people.

Comcast and other big communications companies are some of the biggest, richest lobbyists in Washington.  And they will stop at nothing to try to make discrimination – including fast and slow lanes – the law of the land.  FCC Chairman Wheeler, and Commissioners Clyburn, Rosenworcel, O’Reilly, and Pai, must follow the leadership that President Obama has put forward and reclassify the internet as a human right for all. 

And Congress should remember that every person in this country wants and needs the freedom to communicate – to build justice for our communities and innovation in our economy.  Any move they make to serve big cable instead of their own constituents will inspire an even larger uprising to save our right to speak and to be heard.”

Media Mobilizing Project collaborates with poor and working people to tell the untold stories that help end poverty.  MMP helped lead a process that secured millions in federal stimulus funds for Philadelphia partners aimed at ending the digital divide, and regularly focuses on communications policies and infrastructures that impact poor and working people.  To learn more about Media Mobilizing Project, visit https://mediamobilizing.org or email info@mediamobilizing.org.