Detailed within a joint letter sent to the Federal Communications Commission earlier today, a large group of Internet companies spoke out against the FCC’s rumored plan to allow Internet service providers the ability to charge for faster content delivery. Signed by nearly 150 companies in total, the largest names on the list included Amazon, Dropbox, Ebay, Etsy, Facebook, Foursquare, Google, Imgur, Kickstarter, LinkedIn, Lyft, Microsoft, Mozilla, Netflix, Reddit, Tumblr, Twitter, UStream, Yahoo! and Zynga. The group specifically called the FCC’s proposal a “grave threat to the Internet.”
Speaking about a preferred course of action, the group said “Instead of permitting individualized bargaining and discrimination, the Commission’s rules should protect users and Internet companies on both fixed and mobile platforms against blocking, discrimination and paid prioritization, and should make the market for Internet services more transparent. The rules should provide certainty to all market participants and keep the costs of regulation low.” For companies like Amazon, this represents the first time that many of these companies have taken a public stance on the future of net neutrality.
Up to this point, the FCC’s recent proposal has faced serious disapproval from net neutrality advocates as well as many Internet companies. Assuming the proposal is actually considered by the commission, the group will vote on the proposal on May 15, 2014.
Net neutrality advocates also gained the support of Democratic Senator Al Franken this week. Speaking about the proposal, Franken said “We cannot allow the FCC to implement a pay-to-play system that silences our voices and amplifies that of big corporate interest.” The FCC is also allowing the public to submit comments prior to May 15. Those comments will be taken under advisement by the commission prior to the potential vote.