updated 02:24 pm EDT, Wed May 7, 2014
Senator believes new rules favor established business over startups
As expected, Senator Al Franken (D-MN) is launching a campaign to prevent the Federal Communication Commission's recent proposed changes to net neutrality provisos. Using Google and YouTube's pre-purchase battle as an example, Franken believes that the new plan will cripple innovation and give established business an unfair advantage over startups. Franken said in a video from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee that "we paid for a free and open Internet. We can't let it be taken away."
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's proposals for net neutrality allege to keep companies from downgrading Internet traffic in their own favor, but also opens up the opportunity for service providers (mostly cable companies) to charge extra for faster content delivery, codifying such deals as those penned by Netflix with Comcast and Verizon. Wheeler claims that the FCC will not tolerate actions by ISPs that "degrade the service for all for the benefit of a few," but it is unclear how this will be judged.
The senator added in his remarks that consumers "cannot allow the FCC to implement a pay-to-play system that silences our voices and amplifies that of big corporate interests. We have come to a crossroads. Now is the time to rise up and make our voices heard to preserve net neutrality."
Franken pointed to the YouTube and Google Video fight from 2006. With both offerings competing for viewers and no interference from Internet Service Providers, users chose YouTube over Google Video (which ultimately led to Google buying the service). Franken believes that the outcome would have been different had Google been able to purchase priority access.