Quoted: on the net neutrality fight between Verizon, the FCC

“It’s really a question of how much power we’re going to give the Internet service providers to control our content.”

Sherwin Siy, legal affairs vice president for Public Knowledge, on net neutrality, which once again will take its turn in the spotlight as Verizon and the Federal Communications Commission duke it out in federal court starting today. Verizon will argue that net neutrality — the principle that all traffic over the Internet should be treated equally — violates its First Amendment rights, and that the FCC is overstepping its authority over the United States’ No. 1 wireless provider. As we’ve written, net neutrality rules issued by the FCC in 2010, whose strength and scope pleased neither side, have already survived a 2011 attempt to wipe them out. But the challenge continues, and the decision in this current battle could have a big effect on the who, what, why, where and when of delivering content over the Internet. This is partly because the fight comes as competition grows among revenue-hungry publishers, broadcasters and others over how and where their content is delivered to consumers. For example, some tech companies, (new) such as Google, Facebook and Microsoft (end new), reportedly pay broadband providers extra so their users can access their Web services quickly and smoothly. And the pressure has been on Netflix to do the same; the Los Gatos entertainment provider, which streams TV shows and movies online, is known to be a  bandwidth hog.


Photo from Mercury News archives


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  • hdboy

    “…For example, some tech companies reportedly pay broadband providers extra so their users can access their Web services quickly and smoothly…”

    Why bother to report this if you’re not you to name the companies? Which companies do this for their customers?

  • Levi Sumagaysay

    hdboy: If you clicked on the “reportedly” link, you could’ve found the names of the companies. But I’ve also added them to the post for additional context.

  • Tracy Black

    If Verizon claims that their first amendment rights are infringed by the FCC, then I would suggest that they intern are infringing the first amendment rights of the business’ that use the internet for commerce and information exchange. If they are successful they then have to power to allow business’ to grow or to die because of the way the control the traffic speed to whom ever they wish. I am not a legal expert, however, as I understand the Constitution and rights, a persons rights are limited when they infringe on mine. or another. We have all heard that you cannot yell fire in a crowded theater under freedom of speech. I believe that this discussion is entirely analogous to the crowded theater and fire. The worst part of this is that the consumers are left in the middle to pay the fine to find useful information that is not biased because of the “gate keepers” if Verizon wins.