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EFF Takes on Net Neutrality's Critics in Comments to FCC

EFF Takes on Net Neutrality's Critics in Comments to FCC
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Sep 16, 2014 9:15 AM PDT    Text size: 

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Electronic Frontier Foundation has reiterated to the FCC that it must reclassify broadband as a "common carrier" service so that ISPs face the same regulations as telephone service, allowing fair and equal access.

“Some ISPs, including cable Internet provider Comcast, have argued against the reclassification, telling the FCC that a recent court decision gives the commission all it needs to protect the open Internet. But that claim is based on a complete misreading of the court's ruling,” EFF staff attorneys said.

EFF's formal response to the ISPs' claims are part of the FCC's proposed new rules that would allow for Internet fast lanes.

The FCC at midnight today closed the second round of public commentary on federally proposed net-neutrality rules, which include the legal framework for ISPs to offer those fast lanes. The FCC received more than 3 million comments on the issue.

EFF staff attorneys called it a “a dangerous plan that would allow unfair Internet traffic.”

"The FCC is going down a dangerous path, risking future Internet expression and innovation, and the big ISPs are encouraging the commission every step of the way," EFF Intellectual Property Director Corynne McSherry said. "Will the FCC respond to the pleas of more than a million Internet users and do its part to protect net neutrality? Or will it open the door to a tiered Internet, with ISPs serving as gatekeepers for their subscribers?"

EFF staff attorney Mitch Stoltz noted that what the court actually said was that the “current classification of the Internet would not allow the FCC to ban unreasonable discrimination of network traffic."

"The court gave the FCC a roadmap for protecting the open Internet, and it starts with reclassification, not preserving the status quo," Stoltz said.

ISPs' comments to the FCC also fought against service-performance transparency, “claiming detailed information about network traffic would confuse consumers instead of helping them — essentially arguing that consumers were too uninformed to know what was good for them.”

EFF staff attorneys said another claim came from mobile providers responding to calls to handle mobile Internet traffic without discrimination.

“The providers argued that there was no current problem in the mobile space, despite obvious examples like AT&T blocking the FaceTime app,” they said.

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