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article imageTech companies slam FCC's plan for internet prioritisation

By James Walker     May 8, 2014 in Internet
Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, Dropbox, Yahoo, Netflix and many others have all signed a letter expressing intense disapproval of the FCC's proposals for "Internet fast lanes" as yet another setback for the plans.
The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) wishes to allow Internet service providers to charge companies on the Internet more money to ensure traffic to their sites gets their quicker than "normal" sites. However, this would result in the complete destruction of the net neutrality previously experienced up until now, as different services would have different regulated levels of access to the Internet.
This is exactly what nearly all of the "tech giants" are disgruntled about — they believe everyone should have fair, equal, unprioritised access to the Internet and see it as a vital resource for modern living that everyone should have access to. This belief is especially obvious in the cases of Google and Facebook who plan to bring internet to the homes of those in developing countries through low-flying drones relatively soon.
The companies expressed their views in simple terms in the letter and strongly implied that it would only cause discrimination and make it harder for the internet to be as enjoyable as it is today for future consumers, writing
"According to recent news reports, the Commission intends to propose rules that would enable phone and cable Internet service providers to discriminate both technically and financially against Internet companies and impose new tolls on them. If these reports are correct, this represents a grave threat to the Internet. Instead of permitting individualized bargaining and discrimination, 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."
A full copy of the joint letter by the companies to the FCC can be freely downloaded.
An interesting line in the letter resides at the very end as it is written "This Commission should take the necessary
steps to ensure that the Internet remains an open platform for speech and commerce so that America continues to lead the world in technology markets."
They clearly believe that America is currently dominant in the technology market and wish it to remain that way, believing that new legislation from the FCC may be unfair towards American companies versus the rest of the world.
The letter is signed primarily by Amazon, Cogent, Dropbox, Ebay, Etsy, Facebook, Foursquare, Google, Kickstarter, Level 3, LinkedIn, Lyft, Microsoft, Netflix, Reddit, Tumblr, Twitter, Vonage Holdings, Yahoo and Zynga — all huge names whose views are likely to be considered carefully. Numerous other companies are also listed, however, including 4chan, the huge internet message board formed in the days of IRC (Internet relay chat), Codecademy, who aim to teach the world to code through free, interactive online lessons, Mozilla, makers of the open-source Firefox web browser and famed for standing for an open internet and OpenDNS whose software powers much of the internet.
It isn't just companies who will support this letter, however. The proposals from the FCC for internet traffic prioritisation are exactly what famous hacktivist collective Anonymous steadfastly opposes and even Sir Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the internet, has openly opposed restriction of the free, open Internet we have today.
Now the companies, collectives and individuals appear to be uniting together to prevent the enforcement of what they — and many others — think to be a very detrimental "addition" to the governance of the internet.
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