WASHINGTON — On Monday, Free Press told the Federal Communications Commission that Title II reclassification is a light-touch regulatory approach that will promote investment and restore legal clarity to efforts to protect Net Neutrality.
In reply comments filed with the agency, Free Press also argued that FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's proposal to safeguard the open Internet via Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act will not work. Wheeler's proposal would allow phone and cable companies to prioritize their online offerings and those of a few wealthy companies while relegating the rest of the Web to a slower tier of service.
The filing is available at http://www.freepress.net/sites/default/files/resources/Free_Press_14-28_Reply_Comments_FINAL_9-15-14.pdf.
“Section 706 is entirely inadequate as a legal foundation for any open Internet rules,” said Free Press Policy Director Matt Wood. “Section 706 promises nothing but uncertainty and future legal battles; it’s a shoddy and ineffective way to protect the Internet. Title II, on the other hand, provides ample authority for the Commission to prevent access charges, blocking, undue discrimination, paid prioritization and all manner of unjust and unreasonable practices.”
As of Monday the FCC had received more than 3 million individual comments as part of its open Internet proceeding, a number unmatched in the agency’s history. The Sunlight Foundation’s earlier analysis of the comments found that more than 99 percent of commenters support Net Neutrality protections, and approximately two-thirds of commenters called on the agency to reclassify Internet service providers as common carriers under Title II.
Wood will be a panelist Tuesday morning in one of the FCC's roundtable discussions. He will participate in the 10:30 a.m. roundtable on the scope of the open Internet rules.
Net Neutrality supporters will assemble outside the agency's headquarters at 11:45 a.m. today to protest the FCC's proposal and call on Chairman Wheeler and his fellow commissioners to leave Washington, D.C., and engage the public in town hall-style hearings on Net Neutrality.