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Tech Firms Urge FCC Not To Repeal Obama’s Net Neutrality Rules

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Amazon, Facebook, Google, Twitter etc warn FCC chairman over his intentions to repeal net neutrality rules

The Internet Association that represents leading tech firms has bluntly warned the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) not to repeal net neutrality rules.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is a Republican appointed by President Donald Trump, and he wants to reserve the landmark net neutrality rules that were delivered under the former Obama administration.

Pai has already pledged to maintain a ‘light touch’ regime and said he would not to bow to any pressure from President Trump. But he has admitted that the net neutrality rules were a mistake, and earlier this month it was reported that Pai intended to overturn the rules very soon.

516px-Network_neutrality_symbol_english.svgSilicon Valley Opposition

But Pai faces significant opposition from Silicon Valley after the Internet Association met with the FCC to discuss the matter.

“IA continues its vigorous support of the FCC’s OI Order (the net neutrality rules made in 2015 under Obama), which is a vital component of the free and open internet,” said the Internet Association.

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

“In other words, existing net neutrality rules should be enforced and kept intact,” it said.

It was back in February 2015 that the FCC passed tough new rules to ensure broadband providers in the United States could not create ‘fast lanes’ that slow or block online traffic. The FCC had classified ISPs much like utility service providers (i.e. water, electricity, gas).

Proponents of network neutrality have long said it is necessary to keep the Internet from devolving into multiple tiers that depended on users’ ability to pay for preferential speeds.

And the former FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, has previously warned against removing the net neutrality rules.

FCC Chairman

There can be not doubt that the blunt warning from the Internet Association was aimed directly at Pai, who is known to be a vociferous opponent of Obama’s net neutrality regulations.

And it worth noting that the Internet Association is not just some fringe pressure group, but rather is made up of many of the biggest names in the tech industry including Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Netflix, PayPal, Pinterest, Reddit, Spotify, Twitter, Uber, Yahoo, and a few dozen others.

Pai for his part reportedly wants to ISPs to voluntarily agree to maintain an open internet, by not obstructing or slowing consumer access to web content.

Instead he wants telecom firms to commit in writing to open internet principles and include them in their terms of service, which would make them binding, as he feels the Obama regulations are too heavy handed.

Quiz: Do you understand the language of the Internet?