President Obama has called upon the FCC to reclassify broadband providers as Title II common carriers. As an IT professional and ISP employee, I support this position 100%, for several reasons.
First and most obvious, the free and open Internet is essential for real innovation. Companies like Netflix, Pandora, and Facebook, which account for large percentages of Internet traffic in general, could never have gotten off the ground if ISPs had charged them huge tolls due to the amount of traffic they generate. Big companies love to say government regulation stifles innovation, but what they really mean is it stifles their ability to make money.
Second, and related, allowing ISPs to prioritize any traffic allows them to pick the winners. If Comcast wants to roll out or acquire a competitor to Netflix, and decides to prioritize its own service over Netflix, some people will leave Netflix when its performance suddenly suffers, regardless of how bad the competition may be in other ways.
If you'd like a more insidious example, how about if Comcast was allowed to prioritize Fox News' website over CNN's? Or vice versa?
Third, President Obama's position specifically mentions exceptions to the regulations (forbearance) for things like rate controls. This allows the government to mandate Net Neutrality without forcing the ISPs to control prices. That sounds bad for low prices, but let's face it; broadband prices are already not low. I pay $60/mo for basic Internet at home. That's more than my electricity bill some months. And this is one of the few areas where competition is helping, though slowly; the rollout of Google Fiber is spurring the broadband monopolies to provide better service and lower prices. So, while Title II reclassification is important in order to preserve the free and open Internet, other aspects of that reclassification are not so important, and soften the blow for the broadband providers.
Finally, I support this change because the Internet really is a utility. Today, it's every bit as essential to a home as water and power. Kids need it for school, adults need it for work and personal business, and it's useful for so many other things; news, entertainment, shopping, research. We can't have anyone telling us which of these things we will be allowed to do at any given moment, or which sources we may consult in doing them.
I don't know what's going to happen. The FCC could stay its current course and attempt to implement its 'hybrid' solution, or it might listen to the President, or it might do something else entirely. But, I can tell you with certainty, if Title II reclassification does not happen, eventually the ISPs will be not only the gatekeepers of the Internet, but they will be determining which parts of the Internet that you see. If you don't want Comcast, Charter, Verizon and AT&T telling you which websites you can visit, Title II reclassification is the only option.