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Web giants Facebook, Amazon, Twitter join support for net neutrality

Internet heavyweights are weighing in on the net neutrality debate, sending a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski on Monday morning supporting his push for new rules.

The CEOs of Amazon, Google, Facebook and Twitter, along with some telecommunications and media firms such as EchoStar and XO Communications, sent their letter after a barrage of letters from bipartisan lawmakers criticized a new rule. A vote this Thursday would begin the process of creating new rules on how Internet service providers control access to the Web. Critics have warned Genachowski's push for stronger and broader rules for access to the Web would hurt investment in networks run by AT&T, Comcast, Verizon and other firms that run Internet networks.

The tech companies, many from Silicon Valley, disagreed. They wrote that Genachowki's push for rules that would prevent carriers from blocking applications like theirs would help spur more technological innovation and support economic growth.

"We believe a process that results in common sense baseline rules is critical to ensuring that the Internet remains a key engine of economic growth, innovation, and global competitiveness," the CEOs wrote in the letter.

Those signed onto the letter :Jeff Bezos of Amazon; James Geiger, CEO of Cbeyong; Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist; Jay Adelson, CEO of Digg; Kevin Rose, founder of Digg; John Donahoe, CEO of eBay; Charles Ergen, CEO of EchoStar Corp; Erick Blachford, former CEO of Expedia; Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, Caterina Fake, founder of Flickr; Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google; Barry Diller, CEO of IAC; Reid Hoffman, CEO of Linkedin; Scott Heiferman, CEO of Meetup; John Lilly, CEO of Mozilla; David Ulevitch, founder of OpenDNS; Josh Silverman, CEO of Skype; Stan Glasgow, President of Sony Electronics; Thomas Rogers, President of Tivo; Evan Williams, CEO of Twitter; Gilles BianRosa, CEO of Vuze; Carl Grivner, CEO of XO Communications; Steve Chen, founder of YouTube; Mark Pincus, CEO of Zynga.

By Cecilia Kang  |  October 19, 2009; 8:28 AM ET
 
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Comments

Has anyone besides me noted that assertions made in that letter are patently false? For example, it says:

"For most of the Internet’s history, FCC rules have ensured and services they want over their Internet connections."

This is simply not true. (If there were such rules, why would these people be lobbying to have such rules made?)

The fact is that the Internet has succeeded not due to regulation but due to freedom from it. These companies want to regulate the Internet so as to force Internet service providers to lose money so that they can prosper.

Brett Glass
Owner and Founder, LARIAT
The world's first wireless ISP (WISP)

Posted by: squirma | October 19, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

(If there were such rules, why would these people be lobbying to have such rules made?)

What? What!@? Let's use your tactic in the other thread - what about all the lobbying money spent by your kind!

Invest in better infrastructure. Your company provides fatter bandwidth to your customers than your competitor(s). You can brag in your advertisement campaign that your customers never have to deal with an ISP that chokes their bandwidth in order to create a false resource scarcity.

Anybody remember Enron?

The problem with you corporate types is that there is a whole world of consumers out here who KNOW what you pricks are trying to do, unlike the state of the usual scams you try to pull on the consumer.

This time we have other corporate fatcats like Google and Facebook etc on our side, pulling the same crap on you that you're trying to pull on us.

Take and like it. You know how it works. This time it's you.

Posted by: katavo | October 19, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

"My kind?" I see: I suppose that skinning my bloody knuckles to install Internet for customers, climbing freezing cold radio towers in driving snowstorms to repair equipment, and making myself available to take technical support calls 24x7 makes me evil. Funny: our customers don't think so.

Oh, and we're not a corporation. We're a real, American small business. It's the so-called "network neutrality" agenda that's being pushed by large corporations -- Google, Microsoft, and Amazon in particular.

Brett Glass
Owner and Founder, LARIAT
The world's first wireless ISP (WISP)

Posted by: squirma | October 19, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

squirma, the opposition to net neutrality is largely from large corporations - not from small businesses.

And, to correct your statement - net neutrality was the de facto standard up until 2005, when the FCC backed off of it. Which is why it is being put into place through the rulemaking process, to insure that we see the same freedom in future that we've seen throughout the development of the Internet.

Posted by: VirginiaGal2 | October 20, 2009 8:43 PM | Report abuse

"VirginiaGal2," to correct YOUR statement, it is simply untrue that there was any standard at all regarding "network neutrality" in the past. The Internet was, in fact, specifically designed to allow individual institutions and their network administrators to set unique policies for their networks. Some, such as military networks, have always been very restrictive.

As for corporate activity: you will find, by far, that it is corporations that are pushing "network neutrality" regulation. They are trying to do it through "astroturf" groups to give the false and misleading impression that it is populist, but in fact it is a corporate agenda of Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Skype, and other corporations. And it is very anti-consumer.

Posted by: squirma | October 22, 2009 12:48 AM | Report abuse

squirma, the FCC's position was for a neutral Internet up until about 2002, changes upheld in 2005.

You are being deliberately disingenuous between rules for Internet Service Providers, which were expected to have neutral networks, and private and military networks, which were not treated as common carriers.

Net neutrality is pro-consumer. I don't care who is lobbying for or against it.

As it happens, more corporate money - by many times - is being spent to fight these consumer protections than is being spent for it.

Per the publicly available numbers today (see http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/21/AR2009102103945.html) AT&T has spent 8 million, Verizon 6.8, Comcast 6 million.

Google has spent 1.8 million. They are outspent ten to one by the ISPs.

I think net neutrality is RIGHT, which is what I care about, but you are grossly misrepresenting the lobbying situation, which is heavily tilted towards the ISPs. I'm just grateful we finally have an FCC that gets it.

Posted by: VirginiaGal2 | October 22, 2009 7:25 AM | Report abuse

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