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United States Senators make push to protect net neutrality

Several senators have asked the FCC to reclassify ISPs as common carriers. This would prevent discriminatory practices among internet providers.


Recently, the FCC has been pushing to end net neutrality, allowing ISPs to throttle the connection speed of their customers. This opens the internet up to a number of problems that could fundamentally change the way the internet works. If net neutrality ends, an ISP could charge you extra for accessing certain websites, or even for accessing them at optimal speeds. On the flip side, they could also charge websites in order to allow visitors full-speed access to it. It’s not too difficult to also imagine a future where one website could pay an ISP to throttle the speeds of a competing website.

Ending net neutrality would fundamentally damage the internet as we know it today, and unfortunately, in Washington, it seems most politicians either don’t care, or don’t understand the issue. However, 13 senators have called upon FCC chairman Tom Wheeler to reclassify Internet Service Providers as common carriers, something which would preserve net neutrality.

The senators, led by senator Edward Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, submitted a letter, directing the FCC to reclassify ISPs under Title II of the communications act. Title II is used to regulate telecommunication providers. The senators believe that broadband is an “essential function” in our lives, and by reclassifying ISPs to reflect this, it would prevent them from discriminating against certain customers by altering their connection speed.

“An open Internet has become the world’s most successful platform for innovation, job-creation and entrepreneurialism,” the letter reads. “An open Internet enables freedom of expression and the sharing of ideas around the world.”

Markey and several of the senators who signed the letter sat down at a press conference with Etsy, Public Knowledge and Free Press this morning to discuss net neutrality. Free Press Action Fund CEO Craig Aaron was among them.

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Ending net neutrality could, in a sense, “break the internet”.

“We’re thankful to have leaders in the Senate willing to stand up for real Net Neutrality and the future of the Internet,” Aaron said. “These senators are joined by every major consumer group, thousands of startups and small businesses, and millions of everyday Internet users who rely on the Internet and want it to stay free and open.”

“More people have spoken out on this issue than any other in the FCC’s history.  And they’ve been very clear: People don’t want fast lanes for the few. [—] There’s only one way to safeguard the open Internet, and that’s reclassifying broadband under Title II of the Communications Act. That’s what the FCC needs to do now.”

The FCC has been open for public comments on the issue of net neutrality over the past few weeks, and while the comment period was supposed to end today, the organization decided to extend the period to July 18th after an influx of comments crashed their site.

Source: Tech Crunch

David F.
A grad student in experimental physics, David is fascinated by science, space and technology. When not buried in lecture books, he enjoys movies, gaming and mountainbiking

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