Lisa Benson’s cartoon in last Wednesday’s paper shows President Obama climbing a telephone pole to repair Internet service with a bag of tools labeled “GOVT. REGS.” An Internet user is in the window screaming.

Her cartoon implies that government regulations will hurt Internet users and that it will be President Obama’s fault. The truth is that President Obama urged the Federal Communications Commission to issue rules to keep the Internet free and open, called “net neutrality.”

Over 4 million people (including me) signed petitions urging the president to come out in support of net neutrality. President Obama can’t tell the FCC what to do. It’s an agency that is not under his control.

Content providers like Netflix favor net neutrality. Broadband companies and investors want rules allowing them to block or slow down content and charge for speedier access to content.

Under their “free market” rules, there would be two lanes on the Internet superhighway: one for those who can pay for the high-speed lane, and the slow-speed lane for those who can’t. (AT&T is expected to sue if the FCC rules in favor of net neutrality.)

By urging the FCC to treat the Internet more like a necessity (like electricity or water) and less like cable TV, President Obama is supporting you and me and the startups and small businesses that will be shut out if the Internet doesn’t remain free.

Paula N. Singer