Tech Giants: Net Neutrality Plan Poses 'Grave Threat To The Internet'

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - More than 100 technology companies, including Google Inc, Facebook Inc, Twitter Inc and Amazon.com Inc, have written to U.S. telecom regulators to oppose a new "net neutrality" plan that would regulate how Internet providers manage Web traffic.

The letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler and the agency's four commissioners, warning of a "grave threat to the Internet," came as one FCC commissioner called for a delay of a vote on the plan scheduled for May 15.

"Rushing headlong into a rulemaking next week fails to respect the public response to his (Wheeler's) proposal," Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said on Wednesday in remarks prepared for delivery at an industry meeting. She called for a delay of the vote to formally propose Wheeler's plan by "at least a month."

Wheeler has been under fire for proposing new so-called "open Internet" or "net neutrality" rules that would allow content companies to pay broadband providers for faster Internet speeds delivering their traffic as long as the deals are deemed "commercially reasonable."

Consumer advocates are worried the rules would ultimately allow Internet companies such as Comcast Corp or Verizon Communications Inc to create "fast lanes" on the Web for traffic of content companies that pay up, potentially shutting out poorer newcomers.

The latest to weigh in is the consortium of technology and Internet companies, which ranged from household names to small startups. They called on the FCC to "take the necessary steps to ensure that the Internet remains an open platform for speech and commerce."

Commission rules should not permit "individualized bargaining and discrimination," the companies said.


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