Pushback on Pay-for-Priority Internet Rules Heats Up Further

By Michelle Maisto  |  Posted 2014-05-23 Print this article Print
net neutrality

At the May 15 meeting, Wheeler insisted he supports an open Internet and applauded the public "outpouring of concern" around the issue.

"I don't like the idea of an Internet divided into haves and have-nots, and I will work to see that that does not happen," he said.

On May 7, 149 online companies, including Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft, wrote to the FCC to ask it to defend the principles of net neutrality.

"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 companies said.

A few dozen famous creative types, including filmmaker Oliver Stone, the bank OK Go and comedian Fred Armisen, wrote to the FCC May 13, likewise calling on it to protect the "communications medium of our era" from "pay-for-priority schemes."

The same day, 28 ISPs wrote the FCC, insisting that "the open Internet has nothing to do with Title II regulation and Title II has nothing to do with the open Internet." 

Classifying the Internet as a utility, they said, would replace innovation and experimentation with "Government, may I?" requests from entrepreneurs.

Also as part of its May 23 NoSlowLane efforts, the PCCC highlighted that it has the backing of celebrities George Takei, Alyssa Milano and Wil Wheaton, as well as Joe Niederberger, the New Jersey Web designer who, in 2007, asked then-presidential-hopeful Barack Obama during an MTV Q&A whether he would only support FCC commissioners who back an open Internet and net neutrality principles.

"The answer is yes," said Obama. "I am a strong supporter of net neutrality."

Pay for priority, Obama goes on to say, "destroys one of the best things about the Internet, which is that there's this incredible equality there. ... Facebook, MySpace, Google might not have been started, if you had not had a level playing field for whoever's got the best idea. And I want to maintain that basic principle."

As of this story's publication, the NoSlowLane petition was 94 percent of the way toward its goal of 150,000 signatures.

Follow Michelle Maisto on Twitter. 


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