Mozilla proposes new version of net neutrality rules

“The Federal Communications Commission should reclassify portions of broadband networks as regulated, common-carrier services to preserve net neutrality protections, Mozilla has said in a new petition to the agency,” Grant Gross reports for PCWorld. “After a contentious debate about U.S. net neutrality rules in recent weeks, Mozilla’s proposal is an effort to define a “new path” for the FCC, Mozilla senior policy engineer Chris Riley said. The browser maker proposes that the FCC create separate rules for how broadband providers manage traffic for their customers and for websites and Web-based service providers.”

“The FCC should redefine the “remote delivery” service offered by the broadband provider to websites and Web services as a regulated service covered by traditional telephone regulations, Riley wrote in a blog post Monday,” Gross reports. “‘We use this as a way to get to meaningful nondiscrimination and no blocking within the last-mile network in a way that will ultimately benefit both edge providers and end users,’ Riley said in an interview. The proposal is a ‘different way of getting to the same place,’ of prohibiting broadband providers from blocking or prioritizing traffic, as proposals from groups that want the FCC to reclassify all broadband service as a regulated, telecom service, he said.”

“Free-market advocates dismissed Mozilla’s proposal, saying the FCC should not regress to the old telephone-style regulatory model. Congress and the FCC have already rejected regulation of Internet transit, said Larry Downes, a tech policy-focused author and former tech law professor. The FCC, in its 2010 net neutrality order, ‘explicitly and sensibly excluded peering, transit, and anything else having to do with the back-end of the Internet,’ he said by email. ‘Congress gave the FCC no authority here, and for good reason,'” Gross reports. “Telephone-style regulations are an ‘historic anomaly, written for a time when a single approved monopoly provider handled interconnection of voice traffic,’ he added. ‘Under the government’s watchful eye, regulated Title II service has been unable to justify a business case for continued investment and innovation; it is dying, having largely been replaced by VoIP and other Internet-based voice services that are better and cheaper.'”

Gross reports, “While the Mozilla petition asks the FCC to forbear from some telephone-style regulations, it doesn’t define which ones the agency should avoid enforcing, added Berin Szoka, president of free-market think tank TechFreedom. An open question on which telephone-style regulations would be enforced would likely discourage broadband investment, he said.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote back in August 2006:

We don’t presume to know the best way to get there, but we support the concept of “Net Neutrality” especially as it pertains to preventing the idea of ISP’s blocking or otherwise impeding sites that don’t pay the ISP to ensure equal access. That said, we usually prefer the government to be hands-off wherever possible, Laissez-faire, except in cases where the free market obviously cannot adequately self-regulate (antitrust, for example). Regulations are static and the marketplace is fluid, so such regulation can often have unintended, unforeseen results down the road. We sincerely hope that there are enough forces in place and/or that the balances adjust in such a manner as to keep the ‘Net as neutral as it is today.

And as we followed up in September 2009:

That we have the same Take over three years later should be telling. Government regulations are not a panacea, neither are the lack thereof. It’s all about striking a proper balance where innovation can thrive while abuses are prevented.

Make that “the same Take over seven years later.”

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Lynn Weiler” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
FCC to propose new rules for so-called ‘Net Neutrality’; would allow broadband providers to charge companies for speed – April 23, 2014
FCC plans to issue new so-called ‘net neutrality’ rules – February 19, 2014
U.S. federal court strikes down FCC’s so-called ‘net-neutrality’ regulations – January 14, 2014
Verizon’s ‘Net Neutrality’ battle with U.S. FCC not about free speech – September 9, 2013
U.S. Senate rejects attempt to overturn FCC’s so-called ‘net neutrality’ rules – November 10, 2011
Free Press sues U.S. FCC over so-called ‘net neutrality’ rules – September 29, 2011
FCC takes steps toward implementing ‘Net Neutrality’ rules – July 1, 2011
Al Franken: Big corporations are ‘hoping to destroy’ the Internet – March 16, 2011
Speaker Boehner rips FCC bid to regulate Internet; likens ‘shocking’ national debt to Sputnik threat – February 28, 2011
House passes amendment to block funds for FCC ‘Net Neutrality’ order – February 17, 2011
Rasmussen: Just 21% of likely U.S. voters want FCC to regulate Internet – December 28, 2010
FCC cites Android ‘openness’ as reason for neutered ‘Net Neutrality’ – December 22, 2010
U.S. FCC approves so-called ‘net-neutrality’ regulations – December 21, 2010
Tim Lee on ‘network neutrality’: Libertarian computer geeks should forge a third way – December 16, 2010
Google and Verizon propose ‘Net Neutrality’ rules, but exempt wireless’ – August 9, 2010
Big win for Comcast as US court rules against FCC on authority to impose ‘Net Neutrality’ – April 6, 2010
Google and Verizon said to be close to deal that may jeopardize ‘net neutrality’ – August 05, 2010
Big win for Comcast as US court rules against FCC on authority to impose ‘Net Neutrality’ – April 06, 2010
Did the FCC’s National Broadband Plan kill ‘Net Neutrality?’ – March 26, 2010
Steve Jobs: Google’s ‘Don’t be evil’ mantra is ‘bullshit’ – February 01, 2010
Will ‘Net Neutrality’ go wireless? Google and the telecommunications industry gird for battle – October 01, 2009
AT&T: Any new ‘net neutrality’ rules should apply to Google Voice, too – September 25, 2009
AT&T calls FCC neutrality plan a ‘Bait and Switch’ – September 22, 2009
Senate Republicans move to block FCC’s proposed ‘net neutrality’ rules – September 22, 2009
Opposing Net Neutrality – August 10, 2006
U.S. Senate committee rejects net neutrality proposal – June 29, 2006
House rejects H.R. 5252 Net neutrality amendment – June 09, 2006
Google posts call to action on ‘net neutrality’ – June 08, 2006
FCC Commissioner backs Net Neutrality – May 30, 2006

12 Comments

  1. I don’t understand why it is so difficult to have the government simply declare that favoritism of certain content by a common carrier is illegal.

    1. Right now, the FCC has limited authority over these carriers. As far as I know, there is no legal basis or authority for the FCC to prohibit content “favoritism” by carriers or punish them for engaging in this type of activity.

      I concur with MDN’s Take to the extent that the fear of regulation actually limits abuses by the carriers. However, I suspect that human nature will drive the carriers to gradually twist and game the system over time until consumers begin protesting in large numbers.

    2. It’s difficult when the FCC is too friendly with legal-bribery-powerful corporations to actually declare them “common carriers.” If they did declare them as common carriers, they would automatically have authority to enforce Net Neutrality.
      The problem is those are the corporations who buy our elections, and provide jobs to the regulatory officials before before AND after they leave the regulatory agency.
      In other words, they would have to do what’s right for the citizens, instead of their corporate owners. Good luck with that. In case you haven’t been paying attention, we don’t have a representative democracy anymore (if we ever did, considering how many groups have been excluded in the entire history of the U.S.).

  2. I’m not quite pleased with Mozilla’s statements.

    “portions of broadband networks” <–What? Portions?

    “proposes that the FCC create separate rules for how broadband providers manage traffic” <–NO. The concept of 'Net Neutrality' is for providers to NOT create rules about managing traffic. Let the USERS decide how to manage their traffic. Stay out of the picture FCC and ISPs! Leave the highway open.

    The FCC should redefine the “remote delivery” service offered by the broadband provider to websites and Web services as a regulated service covered by traditional telephone regulations <–OBVIOUSLY the Internet and all it's shared service lines are exactly the same as the traditional telephone service. However, that's exactly what the media oligarchy REFUSES to allow. As soon as the FCC locks out ISPs from self-filtering Internet traffic, as soon as the CUSTOMERS/CITIZENS rule the Internet, they can't screw us all over any longer. They've lost their leverage. They're simply told to let the traffic through or face the law.

    1. Prattling on about how Net Neutrality is supposed to work, as opposed to the total shit FCC Chairman Thomas Wheeler is foisting:

      Q: When the CUSTOMER/CITIZEN has clogged up the Internet bandwidth with 1080p (or gawd forbid, 4K) video streams, what is a poor ISP to do?

      A: THEY INSTALL NEW BANDWIDTH! That’s in the form of further cable and servers for their hub. And no surprise, years ago the ISPs were MANDATED to have done that already, as of yesterday. And they have NOT.

      So if the ISPs come whining about having to keep up with customer demand for bandwidth, LAUGH AT THEM because they already have funds they were mandated to collect, from us, to BUILD that new bandwidth.

      IOW: What we have here is:

      1) Money grubbing ISPs who despise Net-Neutrality and are manipulating #MyStupidGovernment to destroy it forever, which is what Thomas Wheeler is proposing.

      2) Lazy, abusive scum companies who REFUSE to do the jobs they’ve already been federally mandated to do. Note that word ‘ALREADY’ mandated.

      *Busily digging around for article about lazy ass ISPs avoiding paying for new bandwidth hardware*

      1. Hogging this thread some more, I’ll be posting some URLs about what the ISPs are REALLY doing regarding bandwidth:

        http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130118/17425221736/cable-industry-finally-admits-that-data-caps-have-nothing-to-do-with-congestion.shtml

        For years, the key rationale given by broadband providers for implementing data caps was that it was the only way they could deal with “congestion.” Of course, for years, independent researchers showed that this was bogus, and there was no data crunch coming. If you actually caught a technologist from a broadband provider, rather than a business person or lobbyist, they’d quietly admit that there was no congestion problem, and that basic upgrades and network maintenance could easily deal with the growth in usage. But, of course, that took away the broadband providers’ chief reason for crying about how they “need” data caps. The reality, of course, is that data caps are all about increasing revenue for broadband providers — in a market that is already quite profitable. But if they can hide behind the claims that they need to do this to deal with congestion, they can justify it to regulators and (they hope) the public.…

      2. Sick of me yet? …I know. But I find this stuff to be useful education on the subject:

        Verizon and AT&T: No Interest in Rural Areas

        This is the core article I was looking for:

        Verizon Communications, AT&T , Comcast, and several other large providers are working to implement state-specific deals to limit the build-out of broadband services for certain areas deemed “hard to reach.” According to a recent article in Newsweek, AT&T has already retained 120 lobbyists in Sacramento, and 36 in Lexington, KY. The goal of the lobby effort is to get rid of all obligations requiring large providers to service customers outside of profitable zones. . . .

        Takeaway
        Broadband and wireless have become more than a luxury item, they have become access. In an effort to reduce inequality and increase access for all Americans, the FCC is stepping in to subsidize the cost of the build-out. But, large companies aren’t interested in the long-term profitability of the accounts and are lobbying to get out of current state obligations…

        1. And what if the electric industry did the same? Sorry, Dumptruck, Iowa citizens. It’s less profitable to provide electric service to your doorstep, so just do without. BTW, check out how “neutrality” is handled in the electric generation, transmission, and delivery business, if you want an example of how it should work for data.

          1. Exactly. Another Shoes On Head example. That rule of propaganda: Say bullshit enough times and people will start be believe it’s true. Our current culture is hammered with such bullshit every day.

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