Tech Titans Feel Anything But Neutral about Net Neutrality
Is all Internet traffic created equal? Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Google, Netflix, Twitter, and other Internet giants say 'yes.' The net neutrality debate is heating up again.
Net neutrality news coverage reached a fever pitch in the past few days after it recently became clear that the Federal Communications Commission is planning to unveil a weak tea proposal next week that would allow Internet service providers like Comcast and AT&T to charge Internet companies fees to prioritize traffic.
What exactly is net neutrality, you ask? In essence, it's a principle that requires ISPs to treat all Web data the same no matter the user, site, app, platform, or type of content. The FCC and its Chairman Tom Wheeler, accused of kowtowing to lobbyists, is reportedly suggesting that ISPs be allowed to negotiate with Internet companies and accept remuneration for prioritizing the delivery of higher-quality video and other content. Charges would then, logically, have to roll downhill to consumers—oops, your monthly Netflix bill just went up.
The Internet is not happy. But this isn't anything new. Remember when the Web went on strike over SOPA?
More than 100 tech companies—including Internet giants Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Mozilla, Netflix, Twitter, and Yahoo—just signed a letter to the FCC calling any loss of net neutrality “a grave threat to the Internet”; in essence, giving ISPs the power of gods to slow down, speed up, or block Web traffic as they please.
It boils down to this: Wheeler has put forward a request for the FCC to vote on the proposal on May 15, but several FCC commissioners, including Jessica Rosenworcel and Mignon Clyburn, have pushed back asking for a delay and more time to consider the implications. As Rosenworcel put it, “[Wheeler's] proposal has unleashed a torrent of public responses. Tens of thousands of emails, hundreds of calls, commentary all across the Internet. We need to respect that input and we need time for that input.”
|Here now is some of that torrent:
Wondering if we're seeing a SOPA-style backlash against FCC's proposed weakening of net neutrality http://t.co/A91GxyPdPu— Thomas O'Toole (@tjotoole) May 8, 2014
It has taken 5 years, but glad to see Startups & VC community finally battle FCC/telco/cablecos attempt to destroy #NetNeutrality & internet— Om Malik (@om) May 8, 2014
Did Comcast's PR team write this plan w/ the FCC? I mean we're not THAT dumb. Jeez! http://t.co/Tu7WjIP1n0— Web Barr (@WebBarr) April 23, 2014
|Even Senator Cory Booker (D—NJ) had something to say. Booker has been vocal in his concern over the FCC's proposal:
|Lastly, watch this video. Not only is it adorable, it explains everything you need to know about net neutrality—and it'll make you hopping mad.
A history of net neutrality: http://t.co/BApw8A4dxE— Digg (@digg) May 7, 2014