Tech Companies United Against Title II Net Neutrality
Last month, US President Barack Obama came out and made a statement in favor of net neutrality. The President asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to classify Internet as a utility, under Title II Telecommunications act. This way Internet will be recognized as an essential part of our daily lives. Which surely it is!
According to President Obama:
..We cannot allow Internet service providers (ISPs) to restrict the best access or to pick winners and losers in the online marketplace for services and ideas. That is why today, I am asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to answer the call of almost 4 million public comments, and implement the strongest possible rules to protect net neutrality.
While this could benefit the end user, many of the tech giants showed their concern over this since last month and many of them have now joined forces to raise this concern as one.
Companies like Cisco, IBM, Qualcomm, Intel, Juniper and more have written an open-letter to the FCC. In the letter they have raised their concern about reclassifying the Internet under Title II, and argued that this will affect network investment and will damage the overall growth of the economy.
“Title II would lead to a slowdown, if not a hold, in broadband build out, because if you don’t know that you can recover on your investment, you won’t make it,” the letter said.
These companies also warned that this could end-up costing around $24.1-$45.4 billion in Internet-related capital loss.
“Just a few years removed from the worst recession in memory, that’s a risk no policymaker should accept, let alone promote,” the letter added.
Just last month, AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson said that his company would put on hold their high-speed fiber network in 100 cities across the U.S., and the roll-out would remain on hold until net-neutrality rules are finalized.
On the other hand, the supporters of reclassification including the White House, the American Civil Liberties Union, Consumers Union, Etsy, and a number of other organizations claim that if FCC makes changes in its regulations, it could allow service providers to offer “fast-lane” Internet service which would give birth to a two-tier Internet.
According to them, the two-tier Internet setup would leave a majority of people stuck with the slow service and could make it much harder for tech starups to compete with larger enterprises.
However, the pressure these tech giants are creating might not let this reclassification happen. How this will turn-out, we’ll know in the coming weeks as this story develops.