“Barack Obama was crystal clear during the 2008 campaign about his commitment to ensuring equal treatment of all online content over American broadband lines,” Haley Sweetland Edwards reports for TIME Magazine. “‘I will take a backseat to no one in my commitment to network neutrality,’ Obama told a crowd at Google in 2008. ‘Because once providers start to privilege some applications or websites over others then the smaller voices get squeezed out and we all lose'”

“At a 2007 campaign forum, he went so far as to specifically promise that his Federal Communications Commission appointments would defend the principle of a ‘level playing field for whoever has the best idea.’ ‘As president, I am going to make sure that that is the principle that my FCC commissioners are applying as we move forward,’ he said,’ Edwards reports. “But on Thursday, the President made no public statement when three Democrats he appointed to the FCC voted to move forward with a plan to allow broadband carriers to provide an exclusive ‘fast lane’ to commercial companies that pay extra fees to get their content transmitted online. Instead, White House aides released a press release distancing the President from the decision. ‘The FCC is an independent agency, and we will carefully review their proposal,’ Press Secretary Jay Carney wrote to reporters after the vote. ‘We will be watching closely as the process moves forward in hopes that the final rule stays true to the spirit of net neutrality.'”

“In the vote Thursday, the FCC commissioners approved a plan that prohibited broadband providers from blocking or discriminating against content on current lines, but allowed for the addition of faster service options for paying content providers. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, who was appointed by Obama last year, has argued that these new ‘fast lanes’ do not violate net neutrality principles,” Edwards reports. “But at the time Obama spoke at Google headquarters in 2008, the sort of ‘fast lane’ proposal put forward by Wheeler had already been dismissed as a dangerous intrusion on open competition that violated net neutrality… On Thursday, the Internet Association, a trade group representing Google and other Silicon Valley giants, restated its belief that the Wheeler plan appears to violate the principles of net neutrality. ‘We are opposed to all discrimination,’ said the group’s CEO Michael Beckerman. Discrimination, he continued, included any regime that allowed prioritizing commercial content for a fee, ‘even if existing speeds are not downgraded for everyone else.'”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]