US Democrats decry Google-Verizon net neutrality stance

Four US Democrat lawmakers have written to the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission to complain about Google and Verizon's net neutrality proposals.The members of Congress urged Julius Genachowski to "take action to preserve the free, open nature of the Internet", according to the webpage of one of the four, Representative Ed Markey — the others were Anna Eshoo, Jay Inslee and Mike Doyle.

Four US Democrat lawmakers have written to the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission to complain about Google and Verizon's net neutrality proposals.

The members of Congress urged Julius Genachowski to "take action to preserve the free, open nature of the Internet", according to the webpage of one of the four, Representative Ed Markey — the others were Anna Eshoo, Jay Inslee and Mike Doyle. All four serve on the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet.

Google and Verizon said last week that strong net neutrality principles should apply to fixed-line ISPs, stopping them from prioritising the traffic of one application over that of another. However, the companies said wireless ISPs should be free to discriminate as they wish, and the net neutrality principles should also not apply to providers of non-web applications, such as IPTV and e-health.

"No private interest should be permitted to carve up the Internet to suit its own purposes," Markey said on his page. "The open internet has been an innovation engine that has helped power our economy, and fibre-optic fast lanes or tiers that slow down certain content would dim the future of the Internet to the detriment of consumers, competition, job creation and the free-flow of ideas."

In the letter, the lawmakers claimed paid prioritisation of content would "close the open internet", and argued that "wired and wireless services should have a common regulatory framework and rules".

"Exclusion of wireless services from open Internet requirements could widen the digital divide by establishing a substandard, less open experience for traditionally underserved regions and demographic groups that may more often need to access or choose to access the Internet on a mobile device," they noted.

"Moreover, such inconsistent principles could confuse consumers, who would have different and uneven experiences depending solely on the connection that their mobile devices might use to reach the internet."

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