updated 12:42 pm EDT, Mon July 14, 2014
Internet Association files net neutrality comment one day before deadline
A collection of technology companies has made its case to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) before a call for comments about Net Neutrality ends. The Internet Association, made up of a group of major companies including Google, Netflix, and Amazon, has filed its comment with the FCC, formally opposing a proposal which would allow Internet service providers (ISPs) to charge for faster network access to ISP subscribers.
The 25-page comment from the Internet Association urges the FCC to "adopt simple, light-touch rules to ensure the Internet remains open, dynamic, and spontaneous," claiming these rules will keep the Internet "running smoothly," The rules should also "subject broadband Internet access providers to non-discrimination, no-blocking, and robust transparency requirements."
Citing the fact that ISPs "have the incentive" and the tools to "discriminate and block Internet traffic," as well as the ability to hide such actions by "distributing the blame to other stakeholders," the Internet Association also calls for the FCC to "ensure that carriers are not engaged in any market abuses relating to transit and peering arrangements, and be prepared to exercise its authority to prevent any abuse that it uncovers."
This last point is a current issue for Netflix, as the streaming service is continuing to argue with Verizon over network congestion. In the most recent installment, Verizon claimed its network did not restrict traffic to a user, and while the majority of its network apparently had a low rate of utilization with a fair amount of headroom, connections to Verizon's network sourced by Netflix were persistently oversubscribed and at maximum utilization. Verizon effectively blamed Netflix and its choice of transit provider for the congestion, while Netflix responded claiming Verizon failed to upgrade the blame interconnection, and that it was not at fault.
The comment period began on May 15th, with the first comment round set to end tomorrow. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler revealed over the weekend that it has received approximately 647,000 comments on net neutrality in the period. A few weeks into the comment period, comedian John Oliver produced a 13-minute segment for HBO's Last Week Tonight, calling out for Internet users to make their voice heard. Shortly after, the FCC website was reportedly struggling to cope with the sudden influx of traffic.