Monthly Archives: September 2014

September 30, 2014 | News, Press Releases

New Survey Data Finds Strong Public Support for Wireless Net Neutrality Rules

The Internet Association Presents the Case for Harmonizing Wireline and Wireless Open Internet Protections to FCC

 

Washington, DC – The Internet Association today released a new nationwide survey demonstrating strong support for net neutrality protections for wireless Internet users. Nearly 90 percent of respondents say they do not favor wireless carriers creating fast and slow lanes for the Internet, while more than two-thirds say that wireless Internet providers should not be able to block access to lawful websites and apps.

TIA Wireless Net Neutrality Infographic

In multiple filings with the FCC, The Internet Association has pressed its case for harmonizing net neutrality rules over wireline and wireless networks. The Internet Association highlighted the dangers of treating mobile and wireline networks differently, pointing out that wireless providers believe that mobile broadband should be exempt from no-blocking and non-discrimination rules, essentially arguing for the right to block any mobile app or use at their discretion.

“There is only one Internet and the FCC’s open Internet rules should recognize that. No matter how users choose to connect to the Internet, net neutrality rules should apply universally on both wireless and wireline networks,” said Michael Beckerman, President and CEO of The Internet Association.

Strong public support for net neutrality is evident in the overwhelming flood of more than 3.7 million comments to the FCC, urging the Commission to protect an open Internet. This recent survey finds a similar measure of support among the public specifically on the question of wireless net neutrality. The following survey was fielded on September 8, 2014 and commissioned by the Internet Association and SurveyMonkey. Results were collected from a representative sample of 550 Americans using SurveyMonkey Audience.

“High speed Internet access is a necessity to compete in today’s economy,” said Beckerman. “Connecting through a mobile device is often the only way low-income Americans get online. Creating enforceable net neutrality rules that cover both wired and wireless connections ensures that all Americans have access to an uncensored Internet.”

The full wireless net neutrality survey can be viewed here.

September 30, 2014 | ICYMI, News

ICYMI- Internet Companies Take Aim at Wireless Net Neutrality as Debate Rages On

Re/code
Internet Companies Take Aim at Wireless Net Neutrality as Debate Rages On
Posted: September 30, 2014, 12:44 PM PDT

net neutrality word cloud

By: Amy Schatz

Google, Facebook and other large Internet companies are ramping up a lobbying campaign to ensure federal regulators cover wireless networks in its new net neutrality rules.

The Internet Association, a trade group made up of 28 Internet companies including Google, Facebook, Netflix and Twitter, released a survey Tuesday showing that a vast majority of the American people would support net neutrality rules applying to their wireless phones. The group’s lawyers also met with FCC officials last week to lobby on the same point.

Almost two-thirds of respondents said they don’t think wireless providers should be able to “block access or websites or apps,” which is something that carriers could do unless the FCC extends new net neutrality rules to cover them.

“There is only one Internet and the FCC’s open Internet rules should recognize that,” said Michael Beckerman, the Internet Association’s president, in a statement.

internet association poll question

In 2010, federal officials opted against covering wireless networks under its net neutrality rules — which were designed to prevent Internet providers from blocking or deliberately slowing sites or apps. The agency agreed with the wireless carriers, which argued their Internet services are different from what consumers get at home because their networks are more space constrained.

The wireless industry is still pushing that same argument, but it’s not clear if regulators will be willing to give them another pass. The FCC could end up including wireless carriers under the rules but also give them some leeway in managing their networks to ensure all subscribers get decent service.

The loud push by Internet companies to make sure the wireless industry has to abide by net neutrality is notable because many of those same companies (including Google) had been far quieter in the ongoing debate about whether the FCC should re-regulate Internet lines.

Interestingly, the Internet companies’ survey provided new evidence that many Americans — even those who take online surveys — don’t really know what the phrase “net neutrality” means. Almost half of the respondents in this poll, which surveyed 550 Americans via SurveyMonkey, said they were “not at all familiar” with the concept, even though they were able to answer more general questions about whether or not they supported allowing wireless carriers to block sites and apps.

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To read the original article, click here.

September 24, 2014 | News, Press Releases

Sidecar Joins The Internet Association

Beckerman: “Sharing economy platforms like Sidecar exemplify the Internet’s ability to foster new and innovative services that disrupt entrenched industries and improve people’s lives…”

 

Washington, D.C. — The Internet Association announced today that ridesharing company Sidecar has joined the trade group of leading Internet companies as its 28th member.

“Sidecar’s technology platform offers a safe and affordable way for people to get around their city,” said Sunil Paul, Co-founder and CEO of Sidecar. “Sidecar also helps everyday drivers monetize the extra space in their car providing real economic value and job creation. As with many innovative companies, policies don’t always keep pace with innovation and progress. We are excited to join The Internet Association and work with them to advance our shared goal of championing technology innovation and challenging roadblocks that attempt to stall or stop the application of these solutions to revolutionize industries.”

Founded in 2012, Sidecar is a ridesharing service that connects everyday drivers with people nearby via a smartphone app. The San Francisco based company is currently offering its services in 10 U.S. markets and has facilitated more than a million safe and affordable rides over the past two years.

“Sharing economy platforms like Sidecar exemplify the Internet’s ability to foster new and innovative services that disrupt entrenched industries and improve people’s lives,” said Michael Beckerman, President and CEO of the Internet Association. “The Internet Association is proud to welcome Sidecar as our newest member.”

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September 19, 2014 | News, Press Releases

Consumers Need Greater Internet Access and Faster Broadband Speeds

Beckerman: “Access to high speed Internet service is not a luxury in today’s economy. It is a necessity. Policymakers must encourage broadband abundance and ensure high speed Internet service is deployed everywhere.”

 

Washington, D.C. – The Internet Association submitted comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today calling on the agency to implement pro-consumer policies to bring faster and better broadband service to all Americans, promote competition and choice in the broadband market, and protect an open Internet.

“The Internet is an indispensable tool that is necessary to stay competitive globally, and the Commission has a mandate to ensure the deployment of advanced broadband services nationwide,” said Michael Beckerman, President and CEO of The Internet Association. “Access to high speed Internet service is not a luxury in today’s economy. It is a necessity. Policymakers must encourage broadband abundance and ensure high speed Internet service is deployed everywhere.”

The Internet Association urged the FCC to do all that it can to promote competition and remove barriers in the broadband marketplace: “The Commission should use the full weight of its authority to prevent any private or public entity from inhibiting the deployment of broadband networks or standing in the way of increased competition in providing these services.” The comments also ask the FCC to closely examine the use of restrictive data caps and interconnection requirements that “ration edge providers’ abilities to provide consumers with the data they have requested…”

In its comments, The Internet Association supports Chairman Wheeler’s position that consumers and content providers “have moved well beyond the current benchmark” of 4 Mbps, which “seems too slow to be worthy of the name ‘broadband.’ ”

The comments noted that increasing the benchmark for broadband speeds alone will not be enough to spur true broadband abundance. The Commission must also act to protect the “virtuous circle of innovation” in which new Internet applications, services, devices, and content increase the demand for advanced broadband. That increased demand drives network improvements, which in turn leads to further innovative network uses.

The full text of the Internet Association’s comments can be viewed here.

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September 17, 2014 | News, Press Releases

VIDEO: Congressman Fred Upton and The Internet Association Highlight Small Business Success Stories in Kalamazoo

Beckerman: “The Internet is no longer just Silicon Valley; it has a profound impact on local economies from Kalamazoo to St. Joseph and every town in between.”

 

Washington, D.C. – The Internet Association today released highlights of Representative Fred Upton’s summer tour of Southwest Michigan businesses using the Internet to expand and create jobs. Upton joined The Internet Association and its member companies for a walking tour through downtown Kalamazoo with stops at four businesses, including The Organic Gypsy; Amy Zane: Store & Studio; The Station; and Bell’s Brewery. At each stop, Upton and local leaders saw first-hand how the Internet has helped Kalamazoo small businesses grow, find customers, and expand to new markets.

“The Internet is empowering innovation, investment and job creation along Main Streets across the country,” said Upton, who serves as Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “Look no further than small businesses in Kalamazoo to see how the Internet is opening up new possibilities for entrepreneurs and consumers alike.”

“Half of all goods and services sold and two thirds of all jobs created nationwide come from small businesses on Main Street, and the Internet enables small businesses to reach customers globally and in their local communities,” said Michael Beckerman, President and CEO of The Internet Association. “The Internet is no longer just Silicon Valley; it has a profound impact on local economies from Kalamazoo to St. Joseph and every town in between.”

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September 13, 2014 | ICYMI, News

ICYMI- Discrimination has no place on the Internet

SunHerald.com
Discrimination has no place on the Internet
Posted: September 13, 2014

BY MICHAEL BECKERMAN

Since its inception as a small network designed to help academics share their research and computing resources, the Internet has been self-regulated and governed by principles of openness and non-discrimination. Now an interconnected global network of more than 2.5 billion users — a network of networks — the Internet flourishes with its decentralized governance model and open architecture.

As it turns out, its decentralized and open model is the Internet’s “secret sauce.” Because of its unique nature, free from the control of any government or corporation, the Internet has been a laboratory for invention and innovation. It has unleashed unprecedented entrepreneurialism and creativity. Its nearly non-existent barriers to entry are why the Internet is home to the most exciting new businesses and ideas. An open Internet has spawned thousands of new companies, concepts, markets and ways of doing business. Along the way, Internet companies have been significant drivers of economic growth and job creation.

That’s how the Internet works today: users can go to any website and access any type of content, whenever they want it on equal terms. That relationship is more than simply a commercial understanding; it is a universally shared value among Internet users.

As the Internet has matured, entrenched special interests have sought to control it. We are only two years removed from an unprecedented attempt by big Hollywood studios to censor web content and fundamentally alter the Internet’s DNA. This effort, known as SOPA/PIPA, was defeated when Internet users from all walks of life and from both sides of the political spectrum engaged with their elected representatives in Congress and opposed this anti-Internet legislation.

Today, the future of the Internet is in the hands of the FCC as it deliberates over rules that will prevent — or allow — broadband gatekeepers from charging tolls and erecting anti-competitive barriers for Internet users and content providers alike. And once again, Internet users are engaging in the democratic process to have their voices heard in support of an open and innovative Internet.

More than 1.4 million people and stakeholders have submitted comments to the Federal Communications Commission, more than any other rulemaking in American history. According to a recent Sunlight Foundation analysis, 99 percent of these comments are in support of the FCC adopting strong net neutrality rules.

A segregated Internet

If the FCC does not stand with the Internet’s users, the open Internet that we all know and love could be replaced with a new fee-based structure where cable and wireless gatekeepers choose which websites will receive preferential treatment on closed networks. In this dystopian future, access charges will be foisted upon consumers and the Internet will be segregated into fast lanes for the “haves” and slow lanes for the “have-nots.” Internet users, their pocketbooks, and innovation lose if cable and wireless gatekeepers have their way.

This is why the fight over net neutrality is so critically important — nothing less than the future of the Internet as we know it is at stake.

Net neutrality is the principle that underpins the open Internet. In its simplest terms, it means that broadband gatekeepers — the Internet service providers consumers pay to get online — should treat all Internet traffic equally and not discriminate between different bits of data. Replacing the Internet’s open, non-discriminatory model with a system of tolls and fees will make it more difficult for many people to access the content they want.

The Internet Association, comprised of more than two dozen of the world’s most-recognized and successful Internet companies, is proud to stand with the Internet’s users in support of enforceable net neutrality rules. In a unified voice, the Internet Industry believes any rules should include three key tenets necessary to secure an open Internet for the future.

First: The Internet should be a place free from censorship, discrimination and anticompetitive behavior, protected by simple and enforceable rules to ensure consumers’ equal access to content.

Second: Broadband subscribers should get the bandwidth they are paying for — content should be treated equally, without degradations in speed or quality.

Third: No matter how users choose to connect to the Internet, open Internet rules should apply universally on both wireless and wireline networks.

The Internet Association and its member companies believe there is a compelling public interest for an open Internet, and we stand with the Internet’s vast community of users to keep it that way. We urge the FCC to listen to the people, and adopt these simple, enforceable rules to protect consumers and the open Internet, one of the greatest engines for growth, prosperity and progress the world has ever known.

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To view the original article, click here.

 

September 10, 2014 | News, Press Releases

Response to Net Neutrality Opponents in FCC Filing

Beckerman: “The Internet industry is proud to stand with more than 1 million Americans fighting to protect the innovation and freedom of the Internet.”

Washington, D.C. – The Internet Association, today, urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to stand with the public and take decisive action to guarantee an open Internet. The Internet Association’s comments filed at the FCC today took aim at the flawed arguments of broadband gatekeepers that seek to control speech on the Internet, censor content, and segregate the Internet into fast and slow lanes. The comments represent the consensus views of more than two dozen of the world’s most-recognizable and successful Internet companies on the issue of net neutrality.

“The American people have spoken in record numbers – The FCC must take strong action to protect an open Internet. The Internet industry is proud to stand with more than 1 million Americans fighting to protect the innovation and freedom of the Internet,” said Michael Beckerman, President and CEO of The Internet Association.

The Internet Association reiterated its support for strong non-discrimination and no-blocking rules to protect consumers, startups, and innovation. The comments urged the FCC to adopt net neutrality rules that:

  • Protect an open Internet, free from discriminatory or anticompetitive actions by broadband gatekeepers. This principle should be the cornerstone of the FCC’s network neutrality policy.
  • Recognize there is only one Internet and apply open Internet rules equally to both wired and wireless networks.
  • Prevent broadband gatekeepers from making unilateral decisions about speech and access on the Internet.
  • Make clear that broadband gatekeepers do not have the right to create slow lanes and fast lanes on the Internet that discriminate against speech and harm users.

The Internet Association refuted the specious arguments advanced by broadband gatekeepers who argued that transparency rules alone were enough to protect consumers, and that the FCC should limit its regulatory options. Pointing out the lack of competition and choice in the broadband space, The Internet Association wrote that “robust transparency rules are necessary but not sufficient.” The Internet Association urged the FCC to “leave all of its legal tools on the table.”

The reply comments also highlighted the dangers of treating mobile and wireline networks differently. Wireless providers argued that mobile broadband should be exempt from no-blocking and non-discrimination rules, essentially arguing for the right to block or discriminate against any mobile app or website.

“There is only one Internet and the FCC’s open Internet rules should recognize that. No matter how users choose to connect to the Internet, net neutrality rules should apply universally on both wireless and wireline networks,” said Beckerman.

VIEW THE INTERNET ASSOCIATION’S REPLY COMMENTS
VIEW FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is Net Neutrality

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About The Internet Association
The Internet Association, represents the interests of the leading Internet companies including Airbnb, Amazon, AOL, Auction.com, eBay, Etsy, Expedia, Facebook, Gilt, Google, Groupon, IAC, LinkedIn, Lyft, Monster Worldwide, Netflix, Practice Fusion, Rackspace, reddit, Salesforce.com, SurveyMonkey, TripAdvisor, Twitter, Uber Technologies, Inc., Yelp, Yahoo!, and Zynga. We are dedicated to advancing public policy solutions to strengthen and protect Internet freedom, foster innovation and economic growth, and empower users. The Internet Association is headquartered in Washington, D.C. www.Internetassociation.org

September 10, 2014 | ICYMI, News

ICYMI- Large Internet Companies Avoid “Slowdown,” but Offer Their Two Cents on Fast Lanes

recode.net
Large Internet Companies Avoid “Slowdown,” but Offer Their Two Cents on Fast Lanes
Posted: September 10, 2014 @ 2:30PM PDT

Neither Google nor Facebook participated today in the “Internet Slowdown” protest of FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s fast-lanes net neutrality proposal. But they want you to know that they, too, don’t like the idea of paid prioritization.

Via their trade group, the Internet Association, the companies filed lengthy comments with the feds Wednesday suggesting the agency keep open the option of re-regulating Internet lines under Title II. Notably, the companies did not call on the FCC to reclassify Internet lines under Title II. They also said net neutrality rules should apply to wireless networks.

“We urge the FCC to adopt enforceable rules against paid prioritization or the creation of Internet fast lanes so that the Internet remains an open platform for speech and commerce,” a Facebook spokeswoman said separately in a statement.

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To view the original article, click here.

September 9, 2014 | ICYMI, News

ICYMI- Websites to Protest Net Neutrality Plan

Wall Street Journal
Websites to Protest Net Neutrality Plan
Posted: September 9, 2014 @ 19:49

Dozens of Web companies and advocacy groups, including Reddit, Netflix Inc. and Upworthy, are planning an online protest Wednesday to urge regulators to ban any fast lanes on the Internet.

The protesters plan to place a spinning-wheel icon on their websites to convey their view that the Internet would function slowly if regulators let broadband providers privilege some content at others’ expense.

The icons wouldn’t actually slow down the websites, but if clicked they would link to a website where users can take action on the issue.

The protest could ultimately include thousands of websites and is designed to mirror a 2011 effort in which an online protest strategy was used to scuttle the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, which would have significantly enhanced online copyright protections. A coalition of Web companies, nonprofits and activists banded together to oppose the bill, which was backed by the entertainment and retail industries.

This time organizers including the groups Free Press, Fight for the Future and Demand Progress are protesting Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler’s proposed rules for how broadband providers must treat content traveling over their networks. The rules would ban broadband providers from blocking or slowing down specific websites but open the door for content companies to pay for special access to consumers, such as faster lanes.

A screenshot of the protest site that some websites are sending users on Wednesday.  www.battleforthenet.com

Since it was unveiled, Mr. Wheeler’s proposal has drawn a fierce backlash from proponents of net neutrality, the principle that all Internet traffic should be treated equally. Net neutrality supporters have flooded the FCC this summer with more than 1.2 million comments slamming the proposal, and the goal of Wednesday’s protest is to drive that message home at both the FCC and among members of Congress.

“Consumers, not broadband gatekeepers, should pick the winners and losers on the Internet,” a Netflix spokesman said. “Strong net neutrality rules are needed to stop Internet service providers from demanding extra fees or slowing delivery of content to consumers who already have paid for Internet access.”

Tim Karr, senior director of strategy at Free Press, said the organizers started by recruiting other advocacy organizations active on net neutrality, then went after tech companies like Vimeo and Kickstarter. Their goal is to drive more members of the public to submit comments to the FCC or call their members of Congress and express support for net neutrality. For many of the protesters, the best way for the FCC to achieve that goal is to reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service under communications law, which would subject it to utility-like regulations. Some liberal Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, have backed that approach.

Some of the larger Web companies haven’t said whether they will actively participate in the protest and so far are using their trade group, the Internet Association, to make their views known. The group has called for net neutrality rules on both wired and wireless networks. Privately the firms say they are wary of having to run any new online business models past the broadband providers, and they have left most of the action on this front to the Internet Association. Google, for example, may use its policy website to express its views, said a person familiar with the company’s strategy.

A spokeswoman for Facebook Inc.  said that while the company isn’t putting the Internet slowdown widget on its website, it supports net neutrality principles. “We urge the FCC to adopt enforceable rules against paid prioritization or the creation of Internet fast lanes so that the Internet remains an open platform for speech and commerce,” the Facebook spokeswoman said.

Denelle Dixon-Thayer, an official at Mozilla, said she doesn’t think the protest will be weakened if big Web companies don’t participate as actively as smaller ones. “All of us have something at stake here for our users,” she said.

People in Silicon Valley have debated whether the big Web companies such as Google and Facebook have less incentive to push for all Internet traffic to be treated equally because they can afford to pay Internet providers for speedier access to their services. Ms. Dixon-Thayer disputed that assessment. “Yes, there are companies out there that will be able to pay tolls. It doesn’t mean that they want to,” she said.

 Kickstarter posted a protest message on its homepage. Kickstarter

Broadband providers have said they can live with net neutrality regulations and expressed support for Mr. Wheeler’s proposed rules. But they have argued that reclassifying broadband and subjecting it to greater regulation would curtail investment and innovation in the industry. On Tuesday, 30 tech manufacturers including International Business Machines Corp. and Intel Corp.  wrote to Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker warning that reclassification would dampen spending on Internet infrastructure and reduce demand for their products.

While net neutrality remains under the radar for most Americans, the million-plus comments at the FCC show the issue can arouse passions when explained to the public, particularly among Internet users. An HBO segment by comedian John Oliver on the issue earlier this year prompted so many comments it crashed the FCC’s website. Mr. Karr said the protest organizers are hoping to elicit a similar level of response on Wednesday.

While the active participation of sites like reddit suggests the protest could achieve that goal, moving regulators will be more difficult. Undercutting the arguments of the net neutrality advocates is the divergence among their own views. Some favor net neutrality rules for both wired and wireless networks, while others approve letting the FCC exempt the latter, as it did in 2010.

There is also significant disagreement about whether reclassifying broadband as a utility is necessary to ban special deals like fast lanes. In addition, some companies like Netflix want the rules to cover back-end interconnection between broadband providers and content companies, known as peering.

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To view the original article, click here.

 

September 4, 2014 | News, Statements

Statement on Chairman Wheeler’s speech, “The Facts and Future of Broadband Competition”

The Internet Association President and CEO Michael Beckerman issues the following statement on Chairman Wheeler’s speech today, “The Facts and Future of Broadband Competition:”

“The Internet Association supports public policy that increases consumer access to broadband Internet and maintains the Internet as a force for innovation and growth in our economy.  We welcome Chairman Wheeler’s analysis of broadband competition in the U.S., and agree that consumers lack choice in high-speed broadband Internet connections. Robust competition and meaningful choice between high-speed providers needs to be a cornerstone of broadband policy for consumers to enjoy all the Internet has to offer.  The Internet must be a place free from censorship, discrimination and anticompetitive behavior.”

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Top Internet Business Leaders Confirmed To Speak At Internet Association’s Third Annual Virtuous Circle Summit BECKERMAN: “The value of the Virtuous Circle Summit is the conversations that take place when you bring together the leading voices in the internet innovation and policy space.” Washington, DC — Today, Internet Association announced its initial list of confirmed speakers Read more »

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