FCC's Rosenworcel: We can't have a two-tiered Internet

The net neutrality debate continued to heat up during a Congressional Forum on Net Neutrality hosted by Congresswoman Doris O. Matsui (D-Calif.) this week when two Democratic FCC commissioners voiced their concerns on creating so-called fast lanes, which would allow service providers to adjust speeds related to the websites they visit to access video or other kinds of bandwidth-hungry content.

Jessica Rosenworcel FCC


Democratic FCC Commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Mignon Clyburn spoke during Matsui's hearing in Sacramento, Calif. Matsui, another proponent of net neutrality, earlier this year introduced a bill to ban "fast lane" deals on the Internet.

Rosenworcel, while a supporter of net neutrality, spoke out against paid prioritization, which would allow ISPs to offer faster Internet access for content companies that pay.

"I believe the FCC must find a way to put open Internet policies back in place," Rosenworcel said during the hearing. "We cannot have a two-tiered Internet with fast lanes that speed the traffic of the privileged and leave the rest of us lagging behind."

Under FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's proposed net neutrality rules, service providers would be able to strike speed lane agreements that would speed up traffic for websites like Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) only if agreements were "commercially reasonable."

Earlier this month, a group of Internet-based content providers and competitive providers, including Netflix and Level 3 Communications, held Internet Slowdown Day. Organized by Battle for the Net, a coalition of groups supporting net neutrality, users that went to sites such as Netflix, Etsy, Wordpress, Foursquare and Vimeo saw a continuous site-loading icon on each site.

Rosenworcel also reiterated her support for Wheeler's consideration to reclassify broadband as a Title II communications service. Supporters of net neutrality say that Title II reclassification will give the FCC greater legal authority to set net neutrality rules, but service providers argue such a measure would stifle innovation and investment.

"So as we look for a way forward, I am pleased that Chairman Wheeler has recently acknowledged that all options, including Title II, are on the table," Rosenworcel said. "As we proceed, we must also be mindful that more than 3.7 million people have written the agency to express their opinion." 

Clyburn, who noted the dramatic growth in both LTE and Wi-Fi, indicated that net neutrality rules should apply to both wireline and wireless networks. 

For more:
- see this speech
- see this The Hill article
- see this Roll Call article

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