FCC net neutrality proposal could slow down certain applications on the Internet

In an open letter to the Federal Communications Commission, major Internet and technology companies are united in their fight to keep the Internet free and open. Companies that include Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Netflix among others, are standing together to fight the FCC's plans to split the Internet into faster and slower speed lanes as part of a new upcoming vote.

"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 to impose new tolls on them," the letter reads. "If these reports are correct, this represents a grave threat to the Internet."

These technology companies are asking that the Commission should establish rules that protect users on mobile and fixed platforms against "blocking, discrimination, and paid prioritization, and should make the market for internet services more transparent."

Paid prioritization will become more important as users consume more video content over Internet-based services, often as a result of cord-cutting. Companies like Netflix and Amazon would have to pay ISPs more money to get more speed so that they can deliver videos at sufficient quality to viewers.

GigaOm reports that fifty tech firms are standing together to oppose the FCC proposal that will be voted on. In addition to Amazon, Netflix, and Google, other notable names include Tumblr (now a Yahoo! property), Reddit, Foursquare, Facebook, eBay, the National Association of Realtors, Lyft, Zynga, and more.

Though the letter opposes the proposal that stands before the Commission, it does not provide for an alternative solution. Instead, the technology firms are just calling for an "open Internet" as a vehicle for innovation and free speech, noting that "such rules are essential for the future of the Internet."

"The innovation we have seen to date happened in a world without discrimination," the letter states. "An open Internet has also been a platform for free speech and opportunity for billions of users."


Reader comments

Tech giants blast FCC's net neutrality proposal


"Though the letter opposes the proposal that stands before the Commission, it does not provide for an alternative solution"

An alternative solution to what exactly? An alternative solution to how the ISP's can rake in more money? From the looks of it this nothing more than a money grab.

The solution is already in place since Al Gore (lolz) incepted the internet. Don't f'n change it! If possible, and it happens to pass, I will boycott any company that pushed for this to happen, and eliminate nuetrality. I know I may not be able to 100%, but like recycling.....I'll do my part.

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Technically it was Al Gore who introduced the legislation to congress that started the whole thing and the funding.

Exactly, user pays for service. Service provider provides user with service. There's no issue there.

If they can't provide 50Mb/s through their network, don't sell people 50Mb/s packages. It's always been a racket but now the BS has caught up to them, so they need to expand that racket.

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If ISP can't meet the demand for the traffic, they should build more lanes and if they can't , then simply throttle everyone equally (changing and plans) No special treatments for anyone.

VZW Moto X

Throttling should NEVER be allowed. Infrastructure needs to be improved. America is falling behind in these terms. Do not stiffle growth by lowering the bar for everyone

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The BEST Part is That ISP's charge you and then they charge the Service Companies more which pass the added charges to the consumers (YOU) get to pay more for!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So In The End the Consumers get To pay more and flip the bill on both sides of the equation because of greed.

Interesting..... And disturbing, especially since they do have vested interest in net neutrality as the owners of a streaming service and media marketplace
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They are most likely not on the list because they are a closed system ans want this. They can afford to do this and then ask Internet providers for exclusive access so others like netflix can't get HD programing to people.

Pure Speculation

If Apple truly does support this garbage, then this iPad is getting swapped for the cellular version of the next Nexus tablet.


I'll drop Verizon (even though my life depends on it) the day they start implementing this model in their service. Message has to be strong by consumers.
My only fear is that there will be no alternative. Will see a lot of "competitiveness" excuses as we see them today for all the outsourcing done.

VZW Moto X

I've never seen any example of apple doing things which benefit consumers.

They have the deepest pockets, they will throw the most money, everyone will say how much "better" their service is, apple will profit.

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Bingo. Apple is all about their own bottom line. While all companies care about profit, Apple seems to be the worst at it and never give consumers a break.

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MS and Google are on the list. Either they didn't invite Apple or Apple said FU, we'll write our own letter.

Just kidding. There's a million non-conspiratorial reasons.

Posted via Android Central App using an LG G2.

Weren't there rumors of Apple cutting a deal with Comcast to stream Xfinity content to Apple TV? The more deeply in bed with Comcast, the more a company profits from killing net neutrality.

For once I'm actually glad that giant corporations have an inordinate amount of pull with the U.S. government!

Unfortunately Tom Wheeler (the head of the FCC) was a cable industry lobbyist, so I have a feeling he will passify the cable companies. Whatever comes out will suck for consumers, that's almost a given.

Follow the money. Its the ISP's who stand to profit. They are loosing as more and more people are cutting the cable. So this is how they can balance it out. In the end we will suffer and end up paying more. Bull Shit

The problem is, these big corporations will be able to afford this. It is the little guys, start ups, and small innovators that are going to be screwed by this. And by that account all future progress is going to be jeopardized. One way or another, more power to corporations. Just what we need.

That's my issue. The little guys are the ones that take the biggest hit. The internet was something that at least made it easier for new, awesome innovators to have a voice and have a shot to be a success. The little guys BECOME the big guys who help keep each industry (tech industry or not) new, fresh, and interesting. Ridiculous and sad.

companies that support the official United States Government policies will have unlimited free access to the fast lane on the internet.

those that stray or disobey the US government will get shoved into the slow lanes... or have to pay fees to "upgrade" to the fast lane.

I don't understand how this can even be an issue. If my neighbor and I both have Comcast Xfinity 50Mbps packages, and I stream from Netflix and my neighbor streams from Hulu, it OUGHT to be illegal for Comcast to feed either one of us at a higher speed than the other. We are paying for the same service and should get the same speed, no matter who we choose to stream from. Thus, it would (should!) be moot for Netflix or Hulu to pay Comcast for faster speed.

I don't believe (though I haven't actually read them) my Xfinity Terms of Service would allow for Comcast to stream faster or slower to me based on whether my content provider is also paying Comcast. In which case, the FCC (or Public Service Commission or whoever) should be fining/suing Comcast for violating their Terms of Service with me for not providing me their truly Best Effort in meeting the specifications of the speed I'm paying for.

This is the popular misconception that the only parameter around your service is speed/bandwidth. Packet lost ratio, latency, and jitter are also key performance indicators. In a best-effort service they don't matter, but in a prioritized/managed service they are measured. If you are streaming Netflix and your neighbor is streaming Hulu then the performance will be about the same for both services. Comcast isn't giving more bandwidth to Netflix at the expense of Hulu; they are providing more peering bandwidth to Netflix and possibly some caching.

What these proposed rules are about are allowing those OTT providers with time-sensitive traffic to mark that traffic as a higher priority than non-time-sensitive traffic. All voice traffic will be prioritized as the highest, followed by video, then a few others, ending up with best-effort for e-mail, web browsing, etc. The highest priority traffic will be routed before the other traffic to keep the latency and jitter low so voice and video quality is maintained. Web browsing and e-mail doesn't care if a packet arrives a millisecond or two later. All services get the bandwidth that they need; they just move through the network a bit differently. The intent is to not degrade any non-prioritized service, but provide the right performance for all services so they co-exist nicely. Right now video is choking all services on the Internet.

Android Central should be posting more about "net neutrality" and how this will impact consumers. Not only do Americans already pay more for less than people living in other countries around the world, if these changes pass it will be even worse.

This will also have an extremely negative impact on start-ups and small developers that can't afford to pay more for better services.

I disagree. AC should stick to reviews and Android news. This topic has become too political although it is really a technical discussion. These proposed rules should benefit OTT providers because it allows them to effectively compete with the incumbents on services. If you don't provide a time-sensitive service, then best-effort is good enough. Faceboook, Gmail, or tumblr don't need to prioritize their traffic, but Netflix and Amazon Prime do. If everyone prioritized their traffic then we'd be back in the same situation. Traffic will be prioritized based on its type not on its originator. These important items are not being discussed because it is more effective in politics to evoke emotion to persuade people.

I'm not about to pay a small fortune for high speed internet unless I'm getting all the internet at high speed. This is terrible for everyone but the cable companies. Consumers will pay a premium for high speed and still get screwed if their favorite sites are bit in the fast lane. This needs to get shot down

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The funny thing is that no OTT provider has stated how much they will raise the price of their service. Netflix just upped their streaming subscription fee by $1 supposedly for content, but I bet that about half of that goes to paying Comcast and Verizon for their deals. The extra money will be a small incremental charge for a superior streaming experience.

If you want to see your prices go up then force ISP to pay to deliver the same delivery for all traffic. They will need to add significantly more bandwidth and equipment to support it so they will start raising their prices even more than they currently do. Complain to the FCC and have them regulated as a common carrier, and then the rate increases get codified automatically to guarantee a cozy rate of return.

Of course they are going to oppose it because it means higher costs for the big boys to deliver their content. If they can get the ISP to pay the bill then they are happy. They are not looking at the technical solution but a financial solution. Google and Amazon spend millions per year on bandwidth and network equipment. If they have to spend more money for managed services then their costs go up. If through the FCC they can force the ISP the foot the bill then they preserve their margins. It is all about crony capitalism and who can lobby better. The little guys are jumping on the bandwagon because they are fearful that best-effort service will be degraded. If it is done right then performance for ALL services will improve.

Google, Amazon, Yahoo, and others that deliver a streaming service are being short sighted. Effective traffic management consumes less bandwidth and network resources then just trying to make everything best-effort. Everything thinks the ISP are making money like the robber-barons of the early 20th century. Running a network is no where as profitable as providing the content. It is very capital and labor intensive. Why do you think that Verizon shed its' landline network in areas except up and down the I-95 corridor? Why is Liberty Media spinning off its cable properties? It is because the stock of content producers/sellers performs much better than that of those companies with massive hard physical assets. For Google it is a double-edged sward because if the FCC rules get shot down then they will be spending the money to add extra capacity and larger queues to their Google Fiber properties, but that dwarfs their other bandwidth needs.

Always follow the money. The big guys are just trying to keep their costs low and ride like they are today. They are not afraid of being denied access to subscribers or being altruistic at all. They are preserving their bottom line.