Internet pioneers call for FCC to cancel net neutrality vote

Calvin Saunders
December 13, 2017

The Net neutrality battle has reached its peak and climax.

The engineers and experts who penned the comment warned that repealing net neutrality could have "dangerous consequences, including stifling future innovation and depressing future investment in the wealth of Internet services that drive such a large part of the USA economy". The FCC has overseen ISPs under Obama's net neutrality rules, effectively classifying the internet as a public utility - this wouldn't be the case under the FTC. The law gave the USA government sweeping power over the network providers to check the discriminatory practices with the content flowing through their channels.

Critics also argue that the proposed changes essentially allow ISPs to commit to whatever guidelines they choose to follow and that ISPs are already making moves to take advantage of the relaxing of net neutrality regulations.

But the reports that the proposed repeal plan is expected to be approved have anxious the proponents of a free internet accessible for all, and the letter by the founding fathers of the Internet reflects that sentiment.

The letter refers to the FCC's proposed Restoring Internet Freedom Order, which removes net neutrality protections introduced in 2015 to ensure that internet service providers (ISPs) such as Comcast, AT&T and Verizon would treat all web content and applications equally and not throttle, block or prioritise some content in return for payment. "It should be stopped".

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Pai poked fun at the record 22 million-plus comments submitted to the FCC about net neutrality, even as lawmakers and New York's attorney general are questioning whether some of the comments are fake.

"We are the pioneers and technologists who created and now operate the Internet, and some of the innovators and business people who, like many others, depend on it for our livelihood", the open letter, sent to key Congressmen and women, begins.

Thursday's FCC vote would be on the Restoring Internet Freedom Order, which the letter said was full of "misunderstandings". Once adopted, the order will also require broadband Internet access service providers to disclose their network management practices, performance, and commercial terms of service.

Internet luminaries, including "father of the internet" Vint Cerf and Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, have a blistering message for the Federal Communications Commission as its vote on net neutrality looms: "You don't understand how the internet works". The FCC is now majority-Republican and the agency is expected to vote for the repeal, meaning that by as early as January 2018, the net neutrality rules will be off the books and internet providers could start to charge websites for faster lanes or discriminate against content vis à vis connection speeds however they please.

The experts' comment was not the only one the FCC ignored.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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