The world’s largest technology companies are coming out in force against the Federal Communications Commission’s proposed regulations of Internet access.
In a letter to the FCC Wednesday, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Twitter, Yahoo, Netflix, and dozens of other companies warned that the FCC’s plan to allow Internet service providers to charge websites for faster service in some cases “represents a grave threat to the Internet.”
“Instead of permitting individualized bargaining and discrimination, the Commission’s rules should protect users and Internet companies on both fixed and mobile platforms against blocking, discrimination, and paid prioritization, and should make the market for Internet services more transparent,” the companies wrote.
“Such rules are essential for the future of the Internet.”
It’s not yet clear whether the tech giants are planning any larger protest of the proposed net-neutrality rules. Many of the same companies participated in a massive protest in 2012 that derailed the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA. Google, for example, blacked out the logo on its home page (the most visited website in the world) and collected 7 million petition signatures in a single day.
Two Democratic FCC commissioners also expressed concern with the proposal on Wednesday, throwing the regulations into jeopardy. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler will need both Democratic votes to move the planned regulations forward at a meeting next Thursday.
The FCC first enacted net-neutrality rules in 2010, but the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals struck them down in January. Wheeler is trying to rework the rules in a way that can survive future court challenges.
His proposal would ban Internet service providers from blocking websites but would allow them to charge for special “fast lanes” as long as the arrangements are “commercially reasonable.”
Wheeler argues that his proposal is on strong legal ground and would prevent abuses.
What We're Following See More »
The Senate on Sunday failed to reach agreement on a plan to fund the government through Feb. 8, postponing the vote until noon on Monday. "While lawmakers angled to score political points or shift blame, most agencies planned Monday to begin executing orderly shutdown procedures, per guidance from Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney."
"The Senate was expected to be back in session at noon, while House lawmakers were told to return to work for a 9 a.m. session. Mr. Trump on Friday had canceled plans to travel to his private resort on Palm Beach, Fla., where a celebration had been planned for Saturday to celebrate the anniversary of his first year in office."
"A stopgap spending bill stalled in the Senate Friday night, leading to a government shutdown for the first time since 2013. The continuing resolution funding agencies expired at midnight, and lawmakers were unable to spell out any path forward to keep government open. The Senate on Friday night failed to reach cloture on a four-week spending bill the House had already approved."