Menu
Both sides make last-minute push on Net neutrality

Both sides make last-minute push on Net neutrality

Groups for and against strong rules try to score points just over a week before the FCC's vote

The clock is running down on the chance to lobby the US Federal Communications Commission before it votes on putting stronger net neutrality rules in place, and both sides of the battle are making sure their voices are heard.

Advocates of strong net neutrality rules have generated more than 1 million messages to the FCC or Congress since the beginning of 2015 via the Battleforthenet.com website. "You can't buy public opinion," Evan Greer, campaign director of digital rights group Fight for the Future, said during a press briefing Wednesday. "We very clearly have won in the sphere of public opinion."

The FCC is scheduled to vote on new rules that would reclassify broadband as a regulated utility on Feb. 26, and with agency rules mandating a week-long quiet period on lobbying before then, groups on both sides of the long-running debate were making last-minute pitches.

Included in the Battleforthenet.com numbers since Jan. 1 were more than 700,000 email messages or petitions to Congress, more than 120,000 calls to Congress, and more than 75,000 petitions to the FCC, said supporting groups, calling themselves Team Internet.

The groups supporting Battleforthenet.com include Color of Change, Demand Progress, Free Press and Mozilla.

But groups opposed to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's plan to reclassify broadband from a lightly regulated information service to a more heavily regulated telecommunications service have their own petition drives.

American Commitment, a conservative group with ties to the activist billionaire Koch brothers, said that since December its members have written 100,000 letters to Congress opposing reclassification of broadband.

Protect Internet Freedom, a new group run by two Republican operatives, said it has collected 220,000 signatures on a petition opposing the "attempt by the Obama Administration to control the Internet as a public utility."

Meanwhile, Ajit Pai, a Republican member of the FCC, issued his own press release quoting from newspaper editorials, former government officials and others opposed to strong net neutrality regulations. He also referred to a letter this month from leaders of 43 municipal broadband projects who oppose broadband reclassification.

A change in FCC policy "will trigger consequences beyond the commission's control and risk serious harm to our ability to fund and deploy broadband without bringing any concrete benefit for consumers or edge providers that the market" is not providing now, the letter said.

Several Web startups took issue with how Pai characterized the impact of net neutrality rules, however. Earlier this month, Pai said Wheeler's plan "saddles small, independent businesses and entrepreneurs with heavy-handed regulations that will push them out of the market."

But on Wednesday Engine, an advocacy group representing Web startups, sent the FCC a letter disputing that.

"We write to say unequivocally that [Pai's] release does not represent our views on net neutrality," said the letter, signed by more than 100 startups. "Quite the opposite, entrepreneurs and startups throughout the country have consistently supported Chairman Wheeler's call for strong net neutrality rules."

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags free presstelecommunicationregulationColor of ChangeU.S. CongressDemand ProgressinternetFight for the FutureInternet service providersmozillaProtect Internet FreedomEvan GreerEngineU.S. Federal Communications CommissiongovernmentAjit PaiAmerican Commitmentbroadband

Featured

Slideshows

Examining the changing job scene in the Kiwi channel

Examining the changing job scene in the Kiwi channel

Typically, the New Year brings new opportunities for personnel within the Kiwi channel. 2017 started no differently, with a host of appointments, departures and reshuffles across vendor, distributor and reseller businesses. As a result, the job scene across New Zealand has changed - here’s a run down of who is working where in the year ahead…

Examining the changing job scene in the Kiwi channel
​What are the top 10 tech trends for New Zealand in 2017?

​What are the top 10 tech trends for New Zealand in 2017?

Digital Transformation (DX) has been a critical topic for business over the last few years and IDC is now predicting a step change as DX reaches macroeconomic levels. By 2020 a DX economy will emerge and it will become the core of what New Zealand industries focus on. From the board level through to the C-Suite, Kiwi organisations must be prepared to think and act digital when the DX economy emerges in 2017.

​What are the top 10 tech trends for New Zealand in 2017?
Top 15 Kiwi tech storylines to follow in 2017

Top 15 Kiwi tech storylines to follow in 2017

​The New Year brings the usual new round of humdrum technology predictions, glaringly general, unashamedly safe and perpetually predictable. But while the industry no longer sees value in “cloud is now the norm” type projections, value can be found in following developments of the year previous, analysing behaviours and patterns to formulate a plan for the 12 months ahead. Consequently, here’s the top Kiwi tech storylines to follow in 2017...

Top 15 Kiwi tech storylines to follow in 2017
Show Comments