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The Case for Net Neutrality

What’s Wrong With Obama’s Internet Policy

Let my data go: the supercomputer Illiac IV. Mark Richards / Core Memory Project

For all the withering criticism leveled at the White House for its botched rollout of HealthCare.gov, that debacle is not the biggest technology-related failure of Barack Obama’s presidency. That inauspicious distinction belongs to his administration’s incompetence in another area: reneging on Obama’s signature pledge to ensure “net neutrality,” the straightforward but powerful idea that Internet service providers (ISPs) should treat all traffic that goes through their networks the same. Net neutrality holds that ISPs shouldn’t offer preferential treatment to some websites over others or charge some companies arbitrary fees to reach users. By this logic, AT&T, for example, shouldn’t be allowed to grant iTunes Radio a special “fast lane” for its data while forcing Spotify to make do with choppier service.

On the campaign trail in 2007, Obama called himself “a strong supporter of net neutrality” and promised that under his administration, the Federal

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