Internet giants tell FCC not to abandon net neutrality

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The Internet Association - a group that represents 41 major Internet companies, including Google, Facebook, Amazon and Netflix - met with Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai on Tuesday to express their support for the FCC's current rules regarding net neutrality; rules that Pai has said he hopes to overturn within the next few months.

The FCC wants to replace net neutrality and its open internet (OI) policy with voluntary agreements. The FCC's designation of Internet service as a common carrier would be eliminated, and enforcement would shift to the Federal Trade Commission. Pai would have the votes to reverse the net neutrality order, and there has been some talk of a congressional compromise that would reverse the classification of Internet service as a common carrier.

"The Internet industry is uniform in its belief that net neutrality preserves the consumer experience, competition, and innovation online".

"While IA continues its work to protect consumers by maintaining existing FCC rules, its primary focus is on the end result - meaningful net neutrality rules that withstand the test of time". The association said that they should be enforced by the FCC, that they ban the selling of "fast-lanes" on the Internet, and that they apply to wireless and wireline providers.

With neither regulatory oversight nor competition keeping ISPs in check, internet content companies and consumer advocates alike are justly anxious that companies like AT&T, Comcast, Verizon and Charter will have free reign to engage in anti-competitive, and anti-consumer, behavior.

"Interconnection should not be used as a choke point to artificially slow traffic or extract unreasonable tolls from over-the-top providers", the Internet Association said. "Further, IA preliminary economic research suggests that the OI Order did not have a negative impact on broadband Internet access service (BIAS) investment".

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