Tech pioneers write open letter asking FCC to cancel net neutrality vote

WORLD WIDE WEB PARAGONS have signed a letter that urges a halt on the vote to repeal the net neutrality protections in the United States by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Proponents of net neutrality believe that if it's repealed, ISPs will throttle connections and make you pay extra in order to access some websites.

The FTC will investigate and take enforcement action as appropriate against ISPs concerning the accuracy of those disclosures, as well as other deceptive or unfair acts or practices involving their broadband services.

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), under the Barack Obama presidency, had adopted the net neutrality rules in February 2015 and enacted it in a law in June that year.

The comment referred to in the letter detailed numerous technical mistakes in the FCC's proposed order, including a flawed understanding of the differences between ISPs and edge providers (content companies like Netflix), and how firewalls function (described in the document as "a stunning lack of technical knowledge").

"The time has come to overturn the market disrupting net neutrality and common carrier regulations that sacrificed decades of precedent and the independence of the agency for political ends while doing nothing to protect actual consumers", Republican Commissioner Michael O'Rielly said in a November statement.

The FCC has released a draft MOU with the FTC on how the two regulators would enforce new rules on net neutrality.

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Tech companies, from startups to tech giants, have advocated for net neutrality. Comcast, one of the largest providers in the USA, immediately deleted a "no paid prioritisation" pledge from its website, on the same day that Pai announced his plans.

He added: "This gives free reign to broadband providers to block or throttle your broadband service as long as they inform you of it".

Internet pioneers like inventor of the World Wide Web Tim Berners-Lee, "father of the Internet" Vinton Cerf, Mozilla Foundation executive chairwoman Mitchell Baker and businessmen like Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak were among the 21 to sign the letter.

We are the pioneers and technologists who created and now operate the Internet, and some of the innovators and business people who, like many others, depend on it for our livelihood. "It should be stopped".

"The FTC is committed to ensuring that Internet service providers live up to the promises they make to consumers", said Acting FTC Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen.

The plans were unveiled by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Ajit Pai, a noted opponent of net neutrality rules who has already removed a number of regulations since his appointment by president Donald Trump.

In addition to this open letter, a second signed by musicians, actors and artists also calls on those in Congress to pressure the FCC not to move forward with the vote, planned for this Thursday, December 14.

  • Kyle Peterson