Rumor had it last week that the Federal Communications Commission was planning to roll back rules protecting net neutrality. Now several major companies who make up the backbone of the internet are fighting the change.
The Internet Association, a lobby repping Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Netflix and others, met with FCC Chairman Ajit Pai earlier this week and filed a summary of the meeting. It sounds like they’re content with net neutrality rules as they are:
The internet industry is uniform in its belief that net neutrality preserves the consumer experience, competition, and innovation online. In other words, existing net neutrality rules should be enforced and kept intact.
The new rules would eliminate the FCC’s control over internet service providers, making neutrality voluntary instead. ISPs would pinky-swear not to slow down internet traffic in their terms of service, meaning any regulation would fall to the Federal Trade Commission. While this might sound like a reasonable compromise, the FTC wouldn’t be able to force ISPs to make that pledge. If your ISP simply doesn’t add it to their TOS, nothing the FCC or FTC do can force them to, short of the very law the FCC is trying to roll back.
The IA’s interests aren’t necessarily altruistic — the end of net neutrality would drive these companies’ costs up, as they’d likely have to pay for more favorable access. It’s no surprise they don’t want ISPs to be allowed to “extract unreasonable tolls from over-the-top providers.” But it also stresses that consumers must have “their internet experience preserved and protected, regardless of the legal or regulatory mechanism.”