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Internet Association voices concerns about FCC's net neutrality proposal

The lobbyist group representing the likes of Google and Netflix rallies against "artificial slow lanes" in the ongoing debate over net neutrality.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

The lobbyist group representing the likes of Amazon, Google, and Facebook, among dozens of other tech stalwarts, issued a memo directed toward the Federal Communications Commission regarding the agency's latest net neutrality proposal.

The Internet Association reiterated its argument for an open Internet while declaring that some broadband providers are already discriminating against various content sources, hindering or blocking delivery in real-time.

Accompanying the 25-page commentary, the Internet Association's president and CEO Michael Beckerman voiced strong concerns regarding what the Association described as "artificial slow lanes."

"The FCC must act to create strong, enforceable net neutrality rules and apply them equally to both wireless and wireline providers," argued Beckerman.

The response comes just days after Verizon's vice president of Federal Regulatory Affairs David Young penned a memo rebuffing claims the telco giant was "throttling" Netflix traffic on its FiOS network.

Netflix, also represented by the Internet Association, has found itself on the opposite side of the net neutrality divide against the nation's top broadband providers.

To recall, Verizon Wireless won a court challenge to net neutrality rules, leading the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington D.C. to send the rules back to the FCC in January.

This sparked a vehement debate about the future of the Internet with fears mounting that broadband companies could charge tech companies, such as Netflix or Hulu, more money for fast connections needed to deliver their services. It has been further suspected those charges would be passed off to consumers through price hikes and other fees.

Netflix CEO and founder Reed Hastings published an open letter in March, lambasting the lawsuit won by Verizon Wireless while also calling out "Internet trolls."

In direct response to the Hastings memo, AT&T's public policy chief Jim Cicconi presented a rebuttal one day later.

"As we all know, there is no free lunch, and there’s also no cost-free delivery of streaming movies," Cicconi wrote at the time.

It has since been left up to the FCC to rewrite the rules. In February, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler published a proposal he asserted will preserve the Internet as "an open platform for innovation and expression."

Wheeler followed up with an update and clarifications in April, stipulating ISPs cannot "act in a commercially unreasonable manner," or block legal content and favor traffic from one entity over another.

Scheduled to be enforced by the end of the year, Internet service providers (ISPs) will need to disclose all "relevant information" and policies for governing networks.

To examine the Internet Association's entire response, scroll through the document below:

Internet Association to the FCC

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