Apple Urges FCC Not to Roll Back Ban on Internet 'Fast Lanes' in Push for Net Neutrality
In a letter submitted during the Restoring Internet Freedom comment period, Apple has urged the U.S. Federal Communications Commission not to roll back regulations that prevent "paid fast lanes" on the internet.
Broadband providers should not create paid fast lanes on the internet. Lifting the current ban on paid prioritization arrangements could allow broadband providers to favor the transmission of one provider's content or services (or the broadband provider’s own online content or services) over other online content, fundamentally altering the internet as we know it today—to the detriment of consumers, competition, and innovation.
Apple warns that paid fast lanes could result in an "internet with distorted competition" based on an online provider's ability or willingness to pay, which in turn could put some customers in the "slow lane."
Consumers today seek out the content and services they desire based upon numerous factors, including quality, innovation, ease of use, and privacy considerations. Paid fast lanes could replace today’s content-neutral transmission of internet traffic with differential treatment of content based on an online providers' ability or willingness to pay. The result would be an internet with distorted competition where online providers are driven to reach deals with broadband providers or risk being stuck in the slow lane and losing customers due to lower quality service. Moreover, it could create artificial barriers to entry for new online services, making it harder for tomorrow’s innovations to attract investment and succeed. Worst of all, it could allow a broadband provider, not the consumer, to pick internet winners and losers, based on a broadband provider's priorities rather than the quality of the service.
In May, under the leadership of chairman Ajit Pai, the FCC proposed to roll back the Barack Obama administration's classification of internet providers as "common carriers" under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934.
Apple is far from the only major technology company that has urged the FCC to reconsider its proposal. Last month, companies including Amazon, Google, Twitter, and Netflix hosted an internet-wide day of action to save net neutrality.
The FCC received a record-breaking 22 million comments from the public during the comment period, which closed Wednesday. The FCC will now revise and vote on the proposal, at which point it could become official policy.
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