Within moments of President Obama's call for the FCC to reclassify broadband networks as telecommunication services—thereby allowing for more federal regulation to insure that all content moves at the same speed on the Internet—politicians, activists, and companies took to Twitter to express support or outrage.
The battle over net neutrality has heated up over the past few years, with Internet companies like Facebook, Amazon, and Twitter all calling for the sort of measures Obama proposed Monday, and web-access providers like Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon strongly coming out against being reclassified.
Advocates argue that the reclassification will prevent access providers from establishing a tiered payment system that they say would be both unfair and costly to consumers. Foes say a new regulatory framework would impede free-market investment and innovation.
First, here was Obama's statement, which does not change any existing laws or regulation, but merely urges the FCC to do so:
One of the biggest companies that would benefit from having broadband networks reclassified by the FCC is Netflix, the bandwidth-hungry streaming service.
While Comcast and Time Warner Cable stayed quiet on Twitter regarding Obama's stance, the company's stock initially plummeted.
Politicians, on the other hand, rarely miss an opportunity to tweet about the big news of the day, and Monday was no exception. Liberals were quick to praise Obama's full embrace of net neutrality:
Conservatives, on the other hand, were far less enthusiastic:
As McConnell points out, the ultimate decision on whether to redefine how companies are classified rests with the FCC. While public opinion on this rather confusing issue may not prove all that illuminating in and of itsefl, there are some signs, including the fact that #NetNeutrality became a trending topic on Twitter, that many Americans side with Obama on the issue.