Netflix, Amazon, Skype say draft FCC rules weak, unacceptable
Netflix, Skype and Amazon were among Internet giants lobbying the Federal Communications Commission in recent days, explaining how companies like them have much to lose if the agency doesn't beef up its draft of net neutrality rules.
The companies met last Thursday with Democratic Commissioner Michael J. Copps, who has expressed skepticism of FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski's proposal for how Internet access providers treat content on their networks.
"At the outset of the meeting, the participants expressed their unanimous unwillingness to
support the proposed open Internet framework in its present form as they understand it," according to a filing by public interest groups Public Knowledge and Media Access Project, which joined the Web firms. They said they want to work with the FCC on changes that would better protect Web firms and consumers.
Specifically, the Web giants and public interest groups called for stronger rules that prohibit blocking and slowing of wireless applications. They also called for the FCC to redefine broadband as a telecom service, more firmly under its jurisdiction.
Netflix, one of the biggest threats to traditional media and cable companies, was represented by new counsel, Michael Drobac. The Silicon Valley online video streaming giant -- which last week entered the S&P 500 -- has kept a low profile on the debate of network neutrality but reiterated its stance that the FCC should prohibit Internet service providers from charging firms to access for faster lanes on the Internet.
Analysts say Netflix, Apple TV, and Hulu could be threatened by usage-based caps blessed by Genachowski and by what is known as paid prioritization because Internet service providers such as Comcast or Time Warner Cable could make it difficult for consumers to cut their basic cable services by making the quality of video from competitors on the Internet worse or more expensive.
"ISP’s will be in a position to exploit their dominant position and favor their own content and services, or those of select paying partners," the groups said. "Thus, paid prioritization must be identified as an unjust and unreasonable form of discrimination."
| December 13, 2010; 3:55 PM ET
Categories: Apple, Comcast, FCC, Net Neutrality
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