Major technology firms represented by the Internet Association (IA) expressed “vigorous support” for net neutrality, as the lobby group urged Federal Communictions Commission (FCC) chairman Ajit Pai to keep the country’s current laws intact.
Pai and other FCC commissioners met with the IA, which represents the interests of Facebook, Google, Amazon and others, after the chairman told major telecoms trade groups he planned to reverse net neutrality rules last week.
The FCC chairman is believed to be working on a plan to gut the country’s 2015 Open Internet Order, which ensures all online traffic is treated equally, and instead implement a system whereby internet service providers (ISPs) enter into voluntary agreements to uphold the principle.
In a statement released after the meeting, IA indicated it would oppose any attempts to repeal net neutrality laws.
“IA continues its vigorous support of the FCC’s Open Internet Order, which is a vital component of the free and open internet,” said Michael Beckerman, president and CEO of IA. “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 association continued to state its support for “light-touch” rules to protect the open internet, and these rules should be enforced “by the expert agency, namely the FCC”.
According to reports, Pai also wants the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rather than the FCC, to police fair treatment of web traffic under his future vision.
All indications point to a showdown between net neutrality advocates and the major ISPs, should Pai, as expected, push to overturn the landmark Open Internet Order.
However, IA’s statement did also suggest it could be willing to compromise in the future.
“While IA continues its work to protect consumers by maintaining existing FCC rules, its primary focus is the end result – meaningful net neutrality rules that withstand the test of time,” it added.