President Obama is lobbying his own Federal Communications Commission chairman to enact stronger net-neutrality regulations.
Speaking in Los Angeles on Thursday, Obama said he is "unequivocally committed" to net neutrality and that he is opposed to "the notion that somehow some folks can pay a little more money and get better service, more exclusive access to customers through the Internet."
Obama has supported net neutrality since he first ran for president in 2008, but Thursday's comments were his most explicit condemnation of pay-for-priority Internet traffic deals.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler proposed new net-neutrality rules earlier this year that would allow Internet providers to charge websites for access to special "fast lanes" as long as the deals are "commercially reasonable."
The FCC received 3.7 million comments on its net-neutrality proposal, most of them calling for stronger rules. The Obama administration frequently provides input to the FCC through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (a Commerce Department agency)—but the administration did not formally weigh in on net neutrality.
Obama was careful to note that the FCC is an independent agency and that he can't "just call [Wheeler] up and tell him exactly what to do." But he said the FCC chairman "knows my position."