Google, Facebook, Amazon Take FCC to Task on Net Neutrality
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 current rules were set in the 2015 Open Internet Order, which, in brief, states that it is illegal for Internet service providers to throttle or curtail Internet connections for financial gain. This means that a website can’t pay off Verizon or Comcast to give them better access, ensuring that all sites are treated equally. Pai, however, sees this as intrusive government regulation and wants net neutrality to go the same way ISP customer privacy went.
The main thrust of the Internet Association’s meeting with was to talk to Pai on how rolling back net neutrality would impact their business; currently, Facebook, Google and others have agreements in place regarding Internet speeds with all major ISPs, but the changes the FCC chairman is proposing may put these in jeopardy and open up such major companies to something akin to blackmail, where ISPs are in a position to throttle connection speeds to a crawl when their demands are not met.
The Internet Association is keen on maintaining the status quo as it allows them, as well as the millions of smaller sites around the world, to keep doing business much the way as they have been the last few years. Any rollback of the Open Internet Order by the FCC would likely change the Internet as we know it drastically and also open up the proverbial can of worms on issues of free speech and human rights. However, seeing as Pai seems hell-bent on privatizing the Internet, it remains to be seen if last Tuesday’s meeting will have any effect.
Fergus has been tinkering with computers since he was a kid and likes to put a stop to parties by listing the specs of all the digital devices in the room. It's best not to let him near your computer since he'll take it apart and may not put it back together again before he leaves.