|Illustration by DonkeyHotey.|
By Ken Sweet
Cable company stocks fell sharply Monday after President Obama called for the Federal Communications Commission to reclassify Internet access as a utility.
If the FCC were to approve the White House's recommendations, the Internet would be regulated like other utilities such as electricity, water and telephone services. The White House is calling for an "explicit ban" on deals between broadband Internet providers and online services like Netflix, Amazon or YouTube to move their content faster, a potential new source of revenue for cable companies.
While the FCC is an independent agency, Obama's statement could put political pressure on FCC commissioners and aligns the White House with Internet activists who warn against the creation of so-called Internet "fast lanes." Internet activists have been calling for the FCC to reclassify the Internet as a public utility under Title II of the 1934 Communications Act, which is what Obama has called for.