Net neutrality: Apple finally speaks up in letter to FCC

The FCC Still Wants to End Net Neutrality. Wednesday Is the Last Day to Speak Out.

Here's What Might Happen Next In The Struggle For Net Neutrality

Apple has written to Federal Communications Commission asking to keep the net neutrality laws as strong as it is today.

"We work hard to build great products, and what consumers do with those tools is up to them - not Apple, and not broadband providers", the comment, signed by Vice President of Public Policy Cynthia Hogan, says. "However, until a permanent framework is in place, the FCC can and should ensure a durable backstop and maintain core open internet protections through one or more of the options outlined in our comments and the comments of others".

The net neutrality rules see the FCC regulating the internet as if it is a utility, meaning strict rules over blocking or slowing content. Internet providers have generally praised the rules, saying they protect the concept of an open internet, but telecoms operators argue they go too far and could harm competition.

The FCC has not finished posting all the comments to its network neutrality docket that were filed by the August 30 deadline, according to an FCC source speaking on background.

However, this time it has made an exception and filed comments with the FCC.

The FCC, led by its Chairman Ajit Pai, voted in May to start the formal process of unwinding the 2015 rules.

Apple, on the other hand, specifically urged Pai not to roll back an existing ban against so-called "fast lanes", which might allow broadband providers someday to charge for faster delivery of tech companies' movies, music or other content. However, Apple has said that it has no problem trying out alternative sources of legal authority, as long as, the body provides legally sustainable, enforceable and strong protections. That's the current net neutrality approach that Pai - with the backing of companies like AT&T and Comcast - hopes to scrap. "Providers of online goods and services need assurance that they will be able to reach their customers without interference from the underlying broadband providers", said Apple in its comments. It also said that an open internet fosters innovation and investment. Assuming the FCCs proceeds as expected and dismantles existing net neutrality rules, both sides of the debate are expected to lobby congress to establish new net neutrality laws - hence, the goal of the September 7 hearing, to kickstart a public debate.

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