Eighty Advocacy Groups Come Out Against Net Neutrality Proposal

December 11, 2010 -

Nearly 80 net neutrality advocacy groups have thrown salt in the FCC's game this week. The groups wrote a letter to the FCC saying that the open Internet principles announced last week fall short of creating "real net neutrality" rules. Several interest groups, businesses, and civil rights groups signed the letter to the FCC, saying net neutrality rules should ban paid prioritization of online content (note the ECA is one of those eighty groups that signed on to the letter). They also said that Wireless carriers were given too much power to govern themselves, though some might argue that they need to considering the network congestion that space currently faces.

"This is a make-or-break issue, and the signatories on this letter are unequivocal in their demand that fatal flaws with Chairman Genachowski's draft proposal be fixed immediately," Sascha Meinrath, director of New America Foundation's Open Technology Initiative, told Reuters on Friday.

The groups highlighted some of the areas of the FCC chairman's new proposals that they considered "shortfalls." One of the biggest complaints was against the flexibility granted to wireless carriers.

"This incomplete protection would destroy innovation in the mobile apps and content space, permanently enshrining Verizon and AT&T as the gatekeepers for all new uses of the wireless Web," the letter said.

Wireless carriers want to prioritize Internet traffic on congested networks without worrying about FCC rules. Many have said that they already do this to allow handsets to make and receive phone calls.

Steve Largent, chief executive of CTIA, said that the proposal was "acceptable" though he said he'd like to see no regulation on wireless carriers. He added that any changes to the current proposal as it relates to wireless carriers could result in litigation.

The group letter also called for a ban on paid prioritization.

"This unacceptable loophole threatens to swallow the entire rule," the letter said of the ambiguity surrounding the proposal's ban on "unjust and unreasonable" discrimination.

Democratic FCC Commissioners Michael Copps and Mignon Clyburn, have also raised red flags about paid prioritization.

The Commissioners will vote on the new proposals on December 21. Republican Commissioners will vote against the proposal.

Source: Reuters

 


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