FCC vs. Over 100 Internet Companies on 'Net Neutrality Plan'

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By Ma Evelyn Castino Quilas | May 9, 2014 2:33 PM EST

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has received massive opposition from over 100 leading Internet companies over the proposed net neutrality plan, which is aimed at regulating the online providers' management of Web traffic.

Major companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon and Twitter drafted a letter to the FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and the agency's four commissioners to express their disagreement over the U.S. telecom regulator's proposal.

The letter stipulated: "[The FCC must take the necessary steps to ensure that the Internet remains an open platform for speech and commerce." It also noted FCC rules should deny "individualized bargaining and discrimination."

The timely intervention from major Internet companies comes amid the series of protest over Commissioner Wheeler's proposal set to be voted on May 15. The plan would provide permission to U.S. Internet providers to charge the content providers for commercially reasonable agreements like access like Netfix and other quickly growing services. This means huge telecom companies such as AT&T, Verizon and Comcast would be able to have preferential treatment on contents and applications and discriminate against winners and losers online.

Meanwhile, the smaller competitors and other users will be put to a disadvantageous position with the two-tier Internet.

This plan had been on hot waters over the past two weeks as thousands of comments poured to the FCC office. Among those who protested against the plan are public interest groups, Internet content providers and almost 100 stakeholders.

Out of the four FCC Commissioners, Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel called for at least one month delay on the plan. According to an article from Reuters, Commissioner Rosenworcel said, "Rushing headlong into a rulemaking next week fails to respect the public response to his (Wheeler's) proposal."

According to FCC spokesman Neil Grace, Commissioner Wheeler still wanted to pursue the voting of his proposal on the original date as part of a "robust public debate" on the Internet.

In an article from The Guardian, Grace said: "Moving forward will allow the American people to review and comment on the proposed plan without delay, and bring us one step closer to putting rules on the books to protect consumers and entrepreneurs online."

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