More than 60 huge tech companies including Intel, Qualcomm, Cisco and IBM have written a letter to leaders in US Congress and the FCC opposing net neutrality. The free and open internet isn’t going to happen without a fight.
In an effort to implement net neutrality regulations that would stand up to legal scrutiny, US President Obama has proposed that broadband internet be classified as a utility under Title II of the telecommunications act. It’s a smart proposal that ultimately favours consumers, and it’s supported by slews of companies like Google and Facebook. Obviously, the companies that own the infrastructure oppose the idea because they want to be able to charge money for internet fast lanes. These companies also wield a lot of influence.
In the letter, an entirely separate set of companies oppose Title II reclassification because they say it will impede private investment. These companies create many of the components that are used in broadband infrastructure. In fairness, this doesn’t mean they oppose the idea of net neutrality and a free and open internet. Just that they oppose the reclassification of the internet as a utility. But after the courts struck down the FCC’s old neutrality regulations earlier this year, Title II reclassification is one the last ways to actually ensure the important regulation actually happens.
It’s not surprising that these companies oppose net neutrality because it’s in their financial self-interest. It just means that in the lead up to next year’s FCC decision, proponents of open intent need have a slew of well-monied opponents in the way. [TIAOnline]