Golden Frog and the i2Coalition Submitted Comments to the FCC to Fight for Open Access

Golden Frog is a proud member of the i2Coalition, whose mission is to support “those who build the nuts and bolts of the Internet”. We are proud to have played a key role, along with other i2Coalition members, in drafting the i2Coalition’s comments about Net Neutrality that were submitted this week to the United States Federal Communication Commission (“FCC”) yesterday. We are fighting for an “Open Access” Internet that promotes innovation and competition, while respecting user privacy. An excerpt of the executive summary and link to the “Comments of the i2Coaltion” filing is below.

In May of 2014, the FCC made a historic decision to advance rules that will kill the “Open Internet” as we know it. Despite public outcry nationwide, the FCC betrayed Net Neutrality rhetoric, and instead approved the consideration for rules that would create a “two-tiered Internet.” That is, companies with deep pockets can pay for an “Internet Fast Lane” to ensure their traffic and content receive priority. Privacy is also greatly decreased because ISPs will inspect traffic so they can prioritize it.

Golden Frog strongly supports the coalition’s recommendation that the FCC reclassify the broadband transmission component as a Title II telecommunications service. The most effective way to protect and promote the Open Internet is to implement Open Access by reclassifying the broadband transmission component as a Title II telecommunications service. Open Access opens up the Internet to everyone and allows for robust competition.

The Internet thrives when a level playing field allows innovation to come from anyone with a good idea and the ability to act on it. Minimal barriers to entry encourage individual entrepreneurs, small businesses, and global companies to compete in the same arena.

We all must work together and remain vigilant in combating the powerful and well-funded groups that want nothing more than to end the Open Internet. The FCC has asked Internet users to weigh in on Net Neutrality by posting to the comments section on the FCC website.

We encourage every Golden Frog user to post their comments to the FCC by July 18th to FCC to protect the Open Internet! Thank you!

Executive summary of the i2Coalition’s filing to the FCC:

The most effective way for the Commission to protect and promote the open Internet is to implement Open Access by reclassifying the broadband transmission component as a Title II telecommunications service. The NPRM’s proposed Net Neutrality rules attempt to alleviate the effects of an uncompetitive last mile by regulating broadband access, but Open Access strikes at the heart of the problem by opening up the network to robust competition. Open Access would bring competition back to the Internet access market and consumer choice would be the primary safeguard against abusive and discriminatory network practices.

Open Access was the Commission’s prevailing policy for over 40 years. The Computer Inquiries laid the groundwork for a vibrant Internet access market and the Commission’s policies were successfully adopted around the world. It was not until the Commission abandoned Open Access and broadband competition evaporated that the need for Net Neutrality regulations became apparent. The Commission’s decisions to classify broadband as an information service were based on predictions that competition and infrastructure investment would flourish without Open Access. This proceeding provides the Commission the opportunity to reevaluate whether Title I has produced the expected benefits. The evidence is clear that it has not and i2Coalition submits that now is the time to return to Open Access.

If the Commission does not reinstitute Open Access, then it should protect the open Internet with enforceable no-blocking and anti-discrimination rules based on its Title II authority. Section 706 does not provide a solid legal foundation for the Commission’s proposed rules and paid prioritization arrangements would be counterproductive. The incredible success of the Internet is largely attributable to the fact that it has always been a level playing field. Minimal barriers to entry have allowed innovation to come from big and small players alike.

However, a bifurcated Internet where the wealthy and powerful can purchase preferential treatment is anathema to the open Internet.

Paid prioritization also presents a dangerous threat to Internet privacy. The only way that broadband access providers can proactively prioritize edge providers’ traffic is by monitoring the content of their users’ online communications. The Commission should not sanction a prioritization regime that requires Americans to sacrifice their privacy or that allows broadband providers to discriminate against encryption tools. Protecting the open Internet means establishing meaningful rules that stop discriminatory practices. Open Access, the policy i2Coalition recommends the Commission undertake, would deter abuse through vibrant competition. For 40 years, the Commission’s Open Access rules were the foundation of the information services market and they succeeded in fostering competition, preventing discrimination, and incentivizing network investment. These are the results that Commission seeks in this proceeding and it can best achieve them by bringing back Open Access.

The full text of the “Comments of the i2Coalition” filing.