While the two companies maintain that their plan would "protect the future openness of the Internet," critics have argued that the plan would "transform the free and open Internet into a closed platform like cable television," create a "two-tiered Internet," and "[set] the stage for the corporate takeover of the Internet." "What Google and Verizon are proposing is fake Net Neutrality," argues Free Press Managing Director Craig Aaron.
Where is Obama in all of this? A Q&A aired on MTV in October 2007--when President Obama was still Senator Obama--offers some perspective on where Obama has stood on the issue of net neutrality, and the promises he made during his campaign.
"Would you make it a priority in your first year of office to reinstate net neutrality as the law of the land and would you pledge to only appoint SEC commissioners who support open internet principles like net neutrality?" one person asked Obama.
His response: "The answers is yes, I'm a strong supporter of net neutrality."
He went on to provide viewers with some background on net neutrality--"Right now, if you get on the Internet, the speed...and quality of your downloads or your links are the same whether you're going to a CNN or Time Warner site, or whether you're going to BarackObama.com"--and outlined past efforts to do away with net neutrality: "What you've been seeing is some lobbying saying that the servers, the various portals through which you're getting information over the Internet, should be able to be gatekeepers and charge different rates to different websites and webcasts. So now what you'd have is you could potentially download and get much better quality from the Fox News site, while you're getting rotten service from some mom-and-pop sites."
Obama said of these campaigns, "I think that destroys one of the best things about the Internet, which is that there's this incredible equality there...Facebook, MySpace, Google might not have been started if you had not had a level playing field for whoever's got the best idea and I want to maintain that basic principal in how the Internet functions."
"As president, I'm going to make sure that that's the principal my FCC commissioners are applying as we move forward," he concluded.