US ISPs in push to halt FCC broadband changes

firms have opposed FCC proposals

Twenty-eight CEOs from US internet service providers (ISPs) have sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) asking for assurances over net neutrality.

The letter comes in advance of mooted policy changes at the regulator that have raised concerns over internet independence and prioritised traffic.

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has attempted to calm the waters around his proposals, but the regulator still has its critics.

Technology companies Microsoft, Google, Amazon and dozens more sent an earlier letter to the FCC, and now 28 more firms have added their voice, including Verizon, US Telecom, Time Warner and wireless organisation the CTIA.

The most recent letter is not as strong as the first but still opposes radical changes and promises a response to any conditions that it does not support as an industry.

While the web firms back net neutrality, this letter does not dwell on that, instead saying that proposals from the FCC will harm industry and consumers and slow the market.

“An era of differentiation, innovation and experimentation would be replaced with a series of ‘Government may I?’ requests from American entrepreneurs,” it says. “That cannot be, and must not become, the US internet of tomorrow.”

Both the groups oppose the same thing – the reclassification of broadband as Title II – telecommunications services, which could allow for the prioritisation of traffic (PDF) – but for different reasons.

“Reclassification of broadband internet access offerings as Title II – telecommunications services would impose great costs, allowing unprecedented government micromanagement of all aspects of the internet economy,” says the latest letter.

“In defending their approach, Title II proponents now argue that reclassification is necessary to prohibit paid prioritisation even though Title II does not discourage – let alone outlaw – paid prioritisation models. Dominant carriers operating under Title II have for generations been permitted to offer different pricing and different service quality to customers.”

The FCC is due to make its move on Thursday, and opposition is ramping up. The BBC reports that a number of protest posters have gone up in the US paid for by the public urging the FCC to ensure net neutrality on the internet remains.

14 May 2014 | 3:49 pm – Source: v3.co.uk
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