Google, Netflix, And Others Sign Letter Opposing The FCC's Internet Fast Lane

"If these reports are correct, this represents a grave threat to the Internet."

When the Federal Communications Commission announced plans to introduce Internet "fast lanes" in April, many critics called it the beginning of the end for net neutrality.

The basic idea was that large, well-funded companies like Google (which owns YouTube) and Netflix (which is Netflix) could pay a fee to broadband providers like Verizon for faster connectivity to stream content. At the time, critics like Free Press president and CEO Craig Aaron said, "Giving ISPs the green light to implement pay-for-priority schemes will be a disaster for startups, nonprofits, and everyday Internet users who cannot afford these unnecessary tolls."

Initially, the FCC responded to critics by calling the death knell bogus, and issued a statement calling the news reports "flat out wrong." This week, however, the commission's plans were dealt what appears to be a major blow as some of the Internet's biggest players undersigned an open letter calling for the FCC's Internet fast lane plan to be nixed. It's quite a list: Google, Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Reddit, Yahoo, and many others are on board. You can read the whole list of more than 100 signees here.

"According to recent news reports," they write, "the Commission intends to propose rules that would enable phone and cable Internet service providers to discriminate both technically and financially against Internet companies and to impose new tolls on them."

They added, "If these reports are correct, this represents a grave threat to the Internet."

This is the first time Google—one of the big, well-funded Internet companies who could ostensibly take advantage the FCC's plans—has publicly come out to denounce the proposed toll road. As of writing this, the FCC has yet to issue a statement regarding the open letter, but we will update this post if anything changes.

[Image: Flickr user Dan Levy]

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  • Simon Smith

    It looks increasingly like America will be the first "Big Brother is watching you" country. They will of course be in competition with China. The end to "net neutrality" will work well for them slowing down the services of critics and speeding up services for supporters in "fast and slow lanes." This will be possible when they bring an end to net neutrality and the Democrats are leading the charge.

    At least Google is developing the tools to tell us if our ISP's are not up to scratch so we can go somewhere else if they are complicit with governments like the FCC is in trying to put monitors in our newsrooms and now on monitors on our computers let alone ISP's already proving they are complicit in handing over our information.

    But to negate this Google tool the government will just subsidise an ISP provider that gives them the ability to pass on a big cost advantage just like they already do with funding state owned and run media/news.

    And so in the spirit of Big Brother what do we n

  • Simon Smith

    Hollywood is one of the biggest lobbyists for FCC "Fast Lane" changes to end net neutrality.

    Hollywood Director says Hollywood has no soul.

    What do you expect when they have discriminated against Conservative script writers for well over 30 years

    Hollywood is full of illiberal lefty Democrats that have no soul and pretend to be our moral teachers. They have a huge influence over the Whitehouse.

    They are key backers of the "Fast and Furious," legislation so that they with the Obama administration can reverse engineer the internet for content and political purposes.And so it is no accident that a Hollywood lobbyists runs

  • Michael Thomas Bradley

    Can we start holding the FCC members accountable for their actions, such as Tom Wheeler? Obviously, this is not in the best interests of 'the people', but in the interests of 'the comcast' monopoly.

  • Bryan C. Winter

    The FCC has been for net neutrality all along. However they got shot down in the courts. This needs a congressional law. The FCC is completely and entirely accountable, however they are regulators and not law makers ... their power is quite limited. The proposed rules have been written in such a way to as avoid further legal challenges, that they would not be able to win.