Internet Association Calls For Undoing Net Neutrality Repeal

The Internet Association penned an open letter calling for the reversal of the net neutrality repeal earlier this week, having addressed its communication to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Charles Schumer. The lobbying group representing Silicon Valley juggernauts such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon advocated for a bipartisan bill that would codify a set of open Internet rules on a federal level, thus protecting the principles of net neutrality even after the Federal Communications Commission voted to undo Title II protections in mid-December. The group deems that move to be anti-consumer in nature, arguing that it cannot yield to any user-facing benefits given the current state of the broadband market that lacks meaningful competition, thus allowing Internet service providers to violate any net neutrality principles without major repercussions.

The Congressional Review Act meant to assess the issue of regulating the openness of the Internet may deal with some "immediate concerns" but isn't a long-term solution, the Internet Association argued, reiterating its belief that federal net neutrality regulations have now become a necessity. The appeal received widespread support from both sides of the political spectrum, though not all parties with a stake in the matter agree on how the neutrality of the Internet should be ensured by the Congress. The Internet Innovation Alliance that previously supported AT&T's call for an "Internet Bill of Rights" formally supported the idea of a bipartisan bill guaranteeing the consistency of the World Wide Web, though it reiterated its previously expressed stance that any such legislation must equally apply to all ISPs and digital companies.

In principle, the Internet Association and the firms it's representing are exclusively calling for federal regulation of ISPs, having previously argued that their websites and online services don't need such oversight as the markets in which they're participating are much more competitive. Regardless, both sides of the argument appear to agree that Internet operators shouldn't be allowed to practice blocking, throttling, or otherwise censoring legitimate content. IA is also advocating against allowing ISPs to sell so-called "fast lanes" to digital companies, thus providing larger entities with a competitive edge over smaller rivals who wouldn't be able to pay for prioritized access to their services. AT&T's proposal made no arguments against such a practice and the wireless carrier previously argued content prioritization may be unavoidable in the future. In a similar vein, IIA is calling for a codified rulebook based on the 2010 Open Internet Order enacted by the FCC's former Democratic leadership. The group of which AT&T is a member of insists on Capitol Hill enacting equal regulation of both ISPs and digital companies as it claims such a universal approach is the only way to sufficiently protect user privacy and ensure open Internet principles are followed without classifying ISPs as utility providers like the FCC's 2015 Title II regulations did.

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Dominik Bosnjak

Head Editor
Dominik started at AndroidHeadlines in 2016 and is the Head Editor of the site today. He’s approaching his first full decade in the media industry, with his background being primarily in technology, gaming, and entertainment. These days, his focus is more on the political side of the tech game, as well as data privacy issues, with him looking at both of those through the prism of Android. Contact him at [email protected]
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