Microsoft along with other web companies has raised their concerns about the new FCC rules that will allow network providers like AT&T to sell prioritized service to content companies like Netflix. Microsoft and other web companies are arguing that this rule would enable phone and cable Internet service providers to discriminate both technically and financially against Internet companies and to impose new tolls on them. FCC’s idea is to provide fast lane internet access to heart rate monitoring services, not to deliver speedy YouTube ads. However, these companies argue that there should be rules that provide certainty to all market participants and keep the costs of regulation low.
FCC earlier responded to the same criticism on their blog as follows,
The allegation that it will result in anti-competitive price increases for consumers is also unfounded. That is exactly what the “commercially unreasonable” test will protect against: harm to competition and consumers stemming from abusive market activity.
To be clear, this is what the Notice will propose:
That all ISPs must transparently disclose to their subscribers and users all relevant information as to the policies that govern their network;
That no legal content may be blocked; and
That ISPs may not act in a commercially unreasonable manner to harm the Internet, including favoring the traffic from an affiliated entity.
Read the letter sent by the companies to FCC,
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, SW
Washington D.C. 20554
May 7, 2014
Dear Chairman Wheeler and Commissioners Clyburn, Rosenworcel, Pai, and O’Rielly:
We write to express our support for a free and open internet. Over the past twenty years, American innovators have created countless Internet-based applications, content offerings, and services that are used around the world. These innovations have created enormous value for Internet users, fueled economic growth, and made our Internet companies global leaders. The innovation we have seen to date happened in a world without discrimination. An open Internet has also been a platform for free speech and opportunity for billions of users.
The Commission’s long-standing commitment and actions undertaken to protect the open Internet are a central reason why the Internet remains an engine of entrepreneurship and economic growth. According to recent news reports, 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. If these reports are correct, this represents a grave threat to the Internet.
Instead of permitting individualized bargaining and discrimination, the Commission’s rules should protect users and Internet companies on both fixed and mobile platforms against blocking, discrimination, and paid prioritization, and should make the market for Internet services more transparent.
The rules should provide certainty to all market participants and keep the costs of regulation low. Such rules are essential for the future of the Internet. This Commission should take the necessary steps to ensure that the Internet remains an open platform for speech and commerce so that America continues to lead the world in technology markets.