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The Internet Association Submits Comments with FCC as Public Weighs in on Net Neutrality

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The Internet Association, a non-profit organization made up of US Internet companies including Netflix, Rackspace and Google, has filed comment with the FCC on Monday, urging regulators to step in when Internet service providers abuse interconnection deals.

According to a report by The Hill on Monday, interconnection deals are when websites make deals to connect with ISPs’ servers for better access to users, eliminating the middleman.

These deals are largely unregulated as the original net neutrality rules didn’t address interconnection, and the issue received lots of attention earlier this year when Netflix publicly spoke about the deals it made with Comcast and Verizon.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said that Comcast had deliberately slowed traffic so it would have to pay extra in order to boost streaming quality, and posted notices on slow-loading content blaming Verizon for streaming issues. Verizon fired back last week with a blog post, denying that its network has anything to do with Netflix’s buffering.

“Broadband Internet access providers have long had the ability to engineer choke points into their networks in order to slow traffic from certain sources. Advances in network technologies, however, have provided them with an unprecedented ability to discriminate among sources and types of Internet traffic in real time and with little cost,” The Internet Association said. “While DPI has certain legitimate uses, it clearly can be used to intrude on Internet traffic.

“It can censor information packets. It can limit access to specific Internet applications,” The Internet Association said in the comment. “It can insert code into Internet traffic, and direct certain packets to be prioritized over others. Or it can direct the network to block certain content altogether.”

The 23-page document has been submitted to the FCC ahead of Tuesday’s deadline for public comment on the new net neutrality rules. The FCC said that during the comment period, which opened at the end of April, it received “a large number of comments from diverse parties, reflecting widespread public engagement.”

In a blog post, The Internet Association outlined the three main tenets of its proposal. The first is that the Internet should be free from censorship or anticompetitive behavior, “protected by simple and enforceable rules that ensure a consumer’s equal access to the content they want.”

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The second tenet of the proposal is that broadband subscribers should get the bandwidth they are paying for and there should be no “artificial slow lanes.”

The third and final tenet is that net neutrality rules should apply to both wireless and wireline networks.

“The open and neutral Internet architecture is behind this substantial investment in broadband. It is edge providers – whether they provide content, applications, or services – that fuel Internet growth and innovation,” The Internet Association said. “Consumer demand for broadband comes from the applications that consumers access via their broadband service, rather than from the service itself.”

“While correlation does not imply causation, the symbiotic relationship of Internet broadband access providers and content providers is indisputable,” The Internet Association said.

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