Civic News

Etsy praises Obama’s net neutrality stance

President Obama says internet service providers should be treated as utilities; Etsy says FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler should "follow suit."

Noted. (Photo from Flickr user Free Press, used under a Creative Commons license)

Some might argue that the time for President Barack Obama to take a stand for net neutrality would have been when he appointed the chairman of the FCC. In 2013, he picked a former cable and telecoms lobbyist to head the independent commission that oversees interstate communications.

So, on Monday, when the president came out with a statement in support of net neutrality, we didn’t expect it’d receive plaudits. Nevertheless, Chad Dickerson, CEO of Etsy, a company which has been actively pushing for an open internet for some time, thanked Mr. Obama.

“I’m thrilled to see President Obama stand with Etsy and our sellers in calling for strong net neutrality rules under Title II,” Dickerson said in a statement. “The President has proved that he truly is a champion of the Internet. I urge Chairman Wheeler to follow suit.”

This isn’t just empty talk.

Etsy has teamed up with other established-but-not-gigantic internet companies to fund a crew of lobbyists in Washington: the Internet Freedom Business Alliance.

Etsy’s public policy director went into more detail about Etsy’s ongoing push on the company’s blog:

Since last spring, we have been organizing to protect real net neutrality. We’ve submitted formal comments, met with Chairman Wheeler, and participated in the FCC roundtables. Over 30,000 members of the Etsy community contacted the FCC and Congress as part of the #InternetSlowDown. Our sellers even “crafted” comments to the FCC, urging them to protect the free and open Internet.

Recently, Brooklynites made their voices heard on the topic at the Brooklyn Public Library.

In his statement, President Obama said this:

To be current, these rules must also build on the lessons of the past. For almost a century, our law has recognized that companies who connect you to the world have special obligations not to exploit the monopoly they enjoy over access in and out of your home or business. That is why a phone call from a customer of one phone company can reliably reach a customer of a different one, and why you will not be penalized solely for calling someone who is using another provider. It is common sense that the same philosophy should guide any service that is based on the transmission of information — whether a phone call, or a packet of data.

Notably, the president calls for the stronger of the options under consideration: full Title II treatment, where internet service providers would be regulated as utilities.

Companies: Federal Communications Commission (FCC) / Etsy
Series: Brooklyn

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