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Internet Giants Join Public Comments to FCC About Net Neutrality

14 Jul, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel

First public comment period for contentious issue ends July 15

Internet giants July 14 submitted a joint letter to the Federal Communications Commission asking the regulatory agency to enforce equal Internet access for wired and wireless services.

The letter was submitted by the Internet Associates, which represents Web mainstays such as Facebook, Google, Yahoo!, Twitter, Amazon and Netflix, among others.

“We believe the commission should ensure that carriers are not engaged in any market abuses through peering arrangements and be prepared to exercise its authority to prevent any abuse that it uncovers,” read the letter.

The association joined hundreds of thousands of comments submitted by the public before the July 15 deadline. The FCC, which solicited comments by mail and electronically from the public over a 60-day period, is looking to enact new rules in how data flows and is controlled over the Internet.

The FCC’s original net neutrality rules were thrown out by an appeals court in January, prompting the agency to adopt new ones with public input. That process became contentious after FCC chairman Tom Wheeler indicated a willingness to allow “commercially reasonable” data flows based on tiered pricing.

That practice is now in effect, resulting in Netflix securing a peering arrangement with Comcast, and negotiating with Verizon — situations Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has publicly complained about.

Meanwhile, the FCC July 14 released a link showcasing the volumes of physical and electronic comments regarding net neutrality.

“The number of people submitting comments is impressive, underscoring the importance of this issue and the critical role public engagement plays in the commission’s policy-making process,” David Bray, FCC chief information officer, wrote in a post.

The net neutrality issue achieved a fair amount of social media buzz after comedian John Oliver used the platform of his weekly HBO news satire series, "Last Week Tonight," to rail against what he perceived to be Wheeler's lax stance on the issue (equating the former cable lobbyist to a dingo entrusted with a baby) and encourage viewers to send comments supporting strong net neutrality rules.

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