|Barack Obama explains his position on net neutrality. (Screen capture from video)|
By Farhad Manjoo
Silicon Valley’s giant companies have been quiet lately on the question of whether the government should protect an open Internet, which they’ve previously argued is vital to innovation. Don’t count on them staking out a stronger position even though President Obama has stepped into the fray, and Washington looks to be gearing up for an epic battle over the rules that govern the Internet.
On Monday, Mr. Obama offered his support for a strict set of rules that, among other proscriptions, would prohibit broadband carriers from blocking online content, and would restrict them from giving priority access over their lines to companies that pay an extra fee.
In another era, the White House’s position might have elicited squeals of joy from the technology giants, which have long maintained that the future of innovation online depends on such strict net neutrality rules. But Google, which was once the industry’s most ardent supporter of net neutrality, and Facebook, which could mobilize millions of supporters through its service, both declined to comment on Mr. Obama’s position.