Tech Bigwigs Tell FCC: Save Net Neutrality - InformationWeek

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Government // Mobile & Wireless
03:06 PM
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Tech Bigwigs Tell FCC: Save Net Neutrality

Google, Amazon, and other tech companies speak out against proposal that would allow network providers to charge extra for data fast lanes.

Google's 10 Big Bets On The Future
Google's 10 Big Bets On The Future
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More than 100 prominent Internet companies and two of the five commissioners of the Federal Communications Commission have expressed doubts about FCC chairman Tom Wheeler's plan to give network providers more latitude to charge extra for faster data delivery.

When Wheeler, a former cable industry lobbyist, was nominated to head the FCC last year, there was concern about whether he would "buck his former corporate clients and stand up for the public interest." Since he proposed new rules last month weakening net neutrality by allowing network service providers to charge extra for accelerated data delivery, Internet companies and advocacy groups have been sounding the alarm.

The rule change was proposed because in January a federal court for the second time struck down the FCC's 2010 blocking and non-discrimination framework. The problem was that the FCC was attempting to regulate Internet providers under common carrier rules without actually declaring them to be utilities, a classification that would have broad consequences.

[Is lack of competition a problem in the net neutrality debate? Read Net Neutrality Debate Driven By Fear Of Change.]

Wheeler has said he remains open to considering a reclassification of broadband access as a telecommunications service.

In a letter published on Wednesday, Amazon, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter, and other large Internet companies urged the FCC to guard against discriminatory pricing.

"Instead of permitting individualized bargaining and discrimination, the Commission's rules should protect users and Internet companies on fixed and mobile platforms against blocking, discrimination, and paid prioritization, and should make the market for internet services more transparent," the letter says. "The rules should provide certainty to all market participants and keep the costs of regulation low."

Commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel issued statements on Thursday expressing reservations about Wheeler's proposed rules.

"There is no doubt that preserving and maintaining a free and open Internet is fundamental to the core values of our democratic society, and I have an unwavering commitment to its independence," said Cyburn.

Rosenworcel, in remarks delivered at a library conference, called for a delay of at least a month before Wheeler's proposal is considered, to allow for additional public input. The FCC presently plans to vote on the proposal May 15th.

Level 3 Communications, a global network service provider, in March filed a statement with the FCC urging the agency to make sure its rules cover the interconnections between network service providers, which can be turned into toll-generating bottlenecks without oversight. The agency's rules, Level 3 said, should allow ISPs "to charge other providers for services they provide, but they may not charge fees simply for the privilege of accessing that ISP's customers."

Last month, the European Parliament voted to protect net neutrality in a series of telecom reforms. The proposal, which rejects pay-for-performance pricing, is slated to be reviewed later this year by the Council of the European Union before it is finalized and passed into law.

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Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful ... View Full Bio

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User Rank: Strategist
5/20/2014 | 11:30:39 AM
Re: The bald-faced greed of these companies is unbelievable
It's up to Google pay for the infrastructure it wants to use to serve faster video to its own customers.  It's not up to Comcast's customers to give Google a free ride.  Google is just being cheap and sleazy about all this.  They need to stop demanding that ISPs gouge their customers so that big services like Google and Amazon can make yet more money.

Forcing the big services to pay for the infrastructure they are demanding won't in any way hurt innovation and small businesses.  In fact, since small businesses are turning to cloud service providers more anyway, much of this debate has been rendered moot.  The cloud providers should pay for the new infrastructure and they can charge their business customers a few cents more for the bandwidth their streaming services use.
User Rank: Apprentice
5/12/2014 | 4:08:56 AM
FCC reforms
There is stiff opposition to FCC Fast Lane Reforms

These are my is good that Google has concerns over free they say in the article above. Government...'s need to keep their grubby hands of the Internet. At the moment government's only have a few levers over Google and Facebook and other companies.

They have their closed door meetings with Obama but if Obama gets his way with the FCC and FEC.... to stifle online media of the conservative kind he can do it for any kind. Clearly the idea is to reverse engineer the internet by putting tolls online. It would be like a toll being applied to all existing and proposed roads for the driver on a freeway. To surf online you would have to pay a toll rather than travelling on a dirt road. As soon as you introduce tolls you have regulation and the more regulation the better for these illiberals in the Democrats.

They want as many levers to pull as possible and the federal government wants to be pulling the levers of censorship and not leave it as the status quo with irregular meetings and public tiffs with Google or Facebook. What this would do is have the internet pulled way of a toll..into a government licensing system.

Wheras Google and Facebook can charge what they like at present for listings and advertisement this could be regulated through the Fast Lane. Before you know it we would all be paying tolls and have the content regulated under FCC and FEC powers.

We have seen senior management at these agencies warning of the Obama administration wanting to go after their political opponents.

One other thing that would happen like with the health industry is that these fast lane provisers would always be applying to up fees based on maintaing what they say is an optimal service as more people use the bandwidth. This again would put the power in the hands of the regulator for approving or denying increases.

Again their is potential for manipulation here of these proposed fast lanes by government..excluding content or slowing it down for political purposes and coming to arrangements behind the scenes as we saw with the I.R.S.

I don't know about you but I don't want to see a strengthening partnership between ISP's and big media and the government all working together within a left or right wing culture war framework.

Keep the internet free from this Obama administrations reverse engineering and grubby hands. Their left wing manipulation and deception seems to have no end which follows the FCC wanting monitors to be put in newsrooms being booted out by public opinion.

Theres a big difference between the health industry and the information industry being regulated especially as all news and discussion is almost entirely finding itself online.

FEC warns that Obama administration wants to attack them through their operations.
User Rank: Apprentice
5/9/2014 | 7:39:01 PM
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User Rank: Ninja
5/9/2014 | 11:38:01 AM
We could get hosed
Its the Clash of The Titans, and we are going to get the short end of the deal. Someone doesn't get to be chairman of the FCC without knowing how slide things in when nobody is looking, and convince enough people that something is completely different than what it really is.

A friend linked an image that gets the point across quite well:

That could be our future. Ugh.
User Rank: Strategist
5/9/2014 | 7:29:52 AM
Re: The bald-faced greed of these companies is unbelievable
FCC is favoring ISPs over internet Users. Everyone should be fighting the FCC moving to make more restrictions. The first thing that will happen is alternative news sources will be targeted so you will only ever hear what big brother wishes you too. That is the purpose they are going for. Control the information, control the people.

Google, Facebook, Amazon, Kickstarter, Reddit, Yahoo, Mozilla, Microsoft and other Tech Giants join to save Net Neutrality
User Rank: Apprentice
5/9/2014 | 12:15:00 AM
Re: The bald-faced greed of these companies is unbelievable
You are an idiot. Comcast and other major ISPs are intentially throttling down big companies so that they can charge a huge fee to them so they will get faster speeds. You're right there is corporate greed going around but its not with google or facebook. It's with Comcast and other huge ISPs. You do realize what this would mean right? It would mean that there would be no hulu or netflix or youtube or any other big company unless those companies could pay the big fee. That means little ol me with me million dollar idea has no hope of success because I don't have the money to pay the fee. And no one is going to want to use my service because it'll be super slow. I'm doomed from day one.

Think about that for a while before you go posting this nonsense about things you don't understand.
Thomas Claburn
Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
5/8/2014 | 4:01:04 PM
Re: The bald-faced greed of these companies is unbelievable
It's not up to Google to pay to upgrade, say, Comcast's network. That's Comcast's responsibility. Google pays Comcast for the data is sends over its network, but Comcast shouldn't have the ability to come back and tell Google is has to pay a second time or face degraded service. 
User Rank: Strategist
5/8/2014 | 3:51:38 PM
The bald-faced greed of these companies is unbelievable
Net Neutrality has always been a lie perpetrated by Google and other large companies that refuse to fund up front the development costs for the high-speed channels they want to use to make themselves even more profitable.

Instead of passing those costs on to their customers as should be done they continue to insist that all of us consumers subsidize their expenses through higher access fees.

I hope the FCC stands its ground and puts consumer access costs AHEAD of corporate greed.
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