Corporate Interests Negotiate Net Neutrality Solution - Again

Lora Bentley

Since the Federal Communications Commission has yet to act on net neutrality and broadband regulation, yet another group of tech companies and organizations has gathered to "find a way forward." BBC News reports the Information Technology Industry Council hosted closed-door meetings in which representatives from AT&T, Verizon, the Communication Workers of America, Skype, Microsoft and Cisco participated.


Though Google did not attend, a spokesperson told BBC News the company "support[s] any attempt to move the ball forward."


Of the meetings, ITIC President Dean Garfield said:

This new effort will build on that work to arrive at something that can achieve both public- and private-sector support and strike the balance of encouraging continued innovation and investment in the Internet.

Not surprisingly, Garfield says its important that the private sector take the reins on this one because the private sector is better equipped to quickly implement whatever solution is reached.


That's part of it, maybe, but he also wants to make sure private-sector/corporate interests are protected or even come out ahead at the end of the whole process.


And that's exactly why public interest groups/consumer advocates like Free Press and Media Access Project have such a problem with "closed-door" negotiations hosted by those who have business interests in the matter. Media Access Project SVP Andrew Jay Schwartzman said:

These "negotiations" are illegitimate. They do not involve representatives of people who use the Internet for free expression and commerce, and they lack representation from the infant businesses that depend on an open Internet to build the future Ciscos, Microsofts, and Skypes.

Schwartzman went on to say what many observers have said time and again, particularly in the last few weeks: It's time for the FCC to step up and take action.

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