The President of the United States, Barack Obama, has made a statement coming out in support of net neutrality, asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reclassify internet service as a utility. This reclassification would recognize that "the internet has become an essential part of everyday communication and everyday life".

Asking the FCC to reclassify internet service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act does not necessarily mean that they will listen. As an independent body, the President can't force the FCC to make the changes, although publicly supporting net neutrality is a major step in the right direction.

Choosing to classify internet service as a utility, like water or electricity, means that internet service providers would not be able to restrict internet traffic based on source, destination or type. That's to say: all internet traffic should be treated equally, and ISPs shouldn't favor traffic from any service or source.

Obama has outlined a plan for net neutrality that includes four "simple, common-sense steps": no blocking of any content or service so long as it's legal; no throttling of content based on its type or ISP preferences; increased transparency across internet delivery networks; and no paid prioritization of content or services.

The President also asks that mobile internet services be subject to net neutrality rules, albeit with some exceptions that allow ISPs to throttle if their networks become inundated with traffic.

These rules would give all Americans equal access to internet content without ISPs deciding which content is more important. While this is something internet users have been requesting for years now, ISPs aren't too happy about giving up their control of one of the most important utilities today.

Despite Obama's statement, the FCC has indicated there is still work to be done to establish a suitable set of net neutrality rules. They will "incorporate the President’s submission into the record of the Open Internet proceeding" and encourage citizens to continue submitting their ideas.