After years of pressure from ISPs, net neutrality is under threat by the FCC itself. Chair Tom Wheeler promised to revive the Open Internet Order after it saw an unceremonious defeat in January, but a leaked version of his latest proposal would let companies pay ISPs for a “fast lane” to subscribers, undermining the spirit of the original rules, which barred companies from discriminating between services. Despite Wheeler’s reassurances, this new proposal is the exact opposite of net neutrality. It could undermine both the companies of today and the startups of tomorrow. It might also be exactly the push activists need to fight back, according to The Verge .
As Washington Post suggest, more than 150 internet firms are protesting in a letter to the Federal Communications Commission. The companies asked federal regulators to reconsider a proposal that critics fear would allow Internet providers to charge for faster, better access to consumers. The list includes Amazon, Facebook, Google and Microsoft, along with dozens of other firms that called the prospect of paid fast lanes “a threat to the Internet.”
With just a week to go before the Federal Communications Commission meets to consider its proposed new rules for ISPs, the letter represents a late attempt by Silicon Valley to take a stance on the open Internet.
“Instead of permitting individualized bargaining and discrimination,” the companies wrote, “the commission’s rules should protect users and Internet companies on both fixed and mobile platforms against blocking, discrimination and paid prioritization, and should make the market for Internet services more transparent.”
The main question is whether a slow-down protest would have any impact. But it is undoubtedly worth starting a broader conversation about what the Internet community can do together to protest the FCC’s proposed rules.