The Internet Association, a group representing technology companies including Alphabet and Facebook, believes “rolling back net neutrality rules would stifle innovation and choice online.”
In a filing with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the association said dismantling current rules: “will create significant uncertainty in the market and upset the careful balance that has led to the current virtuous circle of innovation in the broadband ecosystem.”
However, most operators disagree. The current FCC rules include: “the framework for price regulation – a toxic approach if the goal is to encourage investment,” Verizon said in its filing, while Comcast said it already pledged not to “engage in blocking, throttling, or anticompetitive forms of paid prioritisation” and is “willing to incorporate these commitments” into its official, consumer-facing policies in the future.
The Internet Association, which also represents Amazon, Microsoft, Netflix, Twitter and Snap, said its research shows that without net neutrality protections, startups would face discrimination from ISP-owned or preferred content granted a speed advantage through paid prioritisation, which would hurt competition and consumer choice.
“Strong, enforceable net neutrality rules mean that consumers, not ISP gatekeepers, decide who wins and loses on the internet. No one wants to live in a world where the internet is like cable TV and consumers have to pay to access only a curated version of the internet,” said president and CEO Michael Beckerman.
Last week, AT&T joined scores of internet companies in a widespread online demonstration to promote net neutrality, despite its long-standing opposition to current FCC rules on the issue.
In May, a majority of FCC members voted to approve controversial plans from chairman Ajit Pai to disassemble the country’s net neutrality rules.