Google, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter band together against 'net neutrality' plan

By Sooraj Shah
08 May 2014 View Comments

Google, Amazon, Facebook and Twitter are among 100 technology firms to have written to the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to oppose a "net neutrality" plan that would regulate how internet providers manage web traffic, because they say it would threaten internet openness.

In a letter to the commission's chairman, Tom Wheeler, the companies said that the new rules were a danger to the internet.

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Other FCC commissioners also expressed doubts about Wheeler's plans; Jessica Rosenworcel, said in a speech yesterday that she had concerns about the plan and urged the FCC to delay the May 15 announcement by "at least a month".

But the FCC has since issued a statement claiming that the date will not be changed as it would allow the US public to review and comment without delay.

"[It will] bring us one step closer to putting rules on the books to protect consumers and entrepreneurs online," the spokesperson said.

Wheeler's plans would enable content companies such as Netflix to pay broadband providers for faster internet speeds to deliver their traffic, as long as any such deal is thought of as commercially reasonable.

Tech companies, in response, have rejected the idea of "individualised bargaining and discrimination" for internet traffic.

But Wheeler maintains that the FCC's new rules will protect, and not undermine net neutrality.

"The internet will remain like it is today, an open pathway," he wrote in a blogpost last month. "If a broadband provider acts in a manner that keeps users from effectively taking advantage of that pathway then it should be a violation of the open internet rules".

Microsoft, Netflix, Yahoo, Reddit, LinkedIn, Ebay, Foursquare, Tumblr and Dropbox are among the other technology firms to have signed the letter to the FCC. Many of the other internet companies are start-ups.

The internet firms are not the only ones to disagree with the plans, with protesters from Fight For the Future, Popular Resistance and others planning to camp outside the FCC until May 15, when the formal announcement of the plans is due to take place.

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