Net neutrality advocates form coalition

A union of web companies including YouTube, Skype, Google and eBay called on the US communications regulator Tuesday to take a stronger role in promoting a neutral and open internet.

The Open Internet Coalition (OIC) filed comments with the FCC, urging the Commission to lead the adoption of “enforceable non-discrimination principles to provide applications developers with adequate incentives to innovate and to ensure that consumers continue to benefit from innovation and competition.”

The move is the latest turn in the so called net neutrality argument, in which the content and application providers of the internet world are accusing broadband network operators of acting as gatekeepers, preventing consumers from enjoying the full range of innovation and choice available through the open internet.

The focus of the OIC’s filing demands that the FCC ensures that the next Facebook or YouTube is able to seek funding based on the merit of its technology and business model, not whether it can afford to strike costly deals with network operators.

The coalition criticised the Commission for taking a “wait and see” approach to network neutrality, arguing that cable and DSL network operators still comprise an effective duopoly in the market for residential broadband service, together accounting for more than 96 per cent of residential high speed lines.

“Cable modem and DSL operators have both the technical capacity and the commercial incentive to control the internet to the detriment of consumers,” the coalition said in a statement. “This structural condition alone should cause the FCC to act immediately,” the organisation said.

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