In an open letter to the Federal Communications Commission, major Internet and technology companies are united in their fight to keep the Internet free and open. Companies that include Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Netflix among others (though Apple is noticeably absent), are standing together to fight the FCC's plans to split the Internet into faster and slower speed lanes as part of a new upcoming vote.
"According to recent news reports, the Commission intends to propose rules that would enable phone and cable Internet service providers to discriminate both technically and financially against internet companies and to impose new tolls on them," the letter reads. "If these reports are correct, this represents a grave threat to the Internet."
These technology companies are asking that the Commission should establish rules that protect users on mobile and fixed platforms against "blocking, discrimination, and paid prioritization, and should make the market for internet services more transparent."
Paid prioritization will become more important as users consume more video content over Internet-based services, often as a result of cord-cutting. Companies like Netflix and Amazon would have to pay ISPs more money to get more speed so that they can deliver videos at sufficient quality to viewers.
GigaOm reports that fifty tech firms are standing together to oppose the FCC proposal that will be voted on. In addition to Amazon, Netflix, and Google, other notable names include Tumblr (now a Yahoo! property), Reddit, Foursquare, Facebook, eBay, the National Association of Realtors, Lyft, Zynga, and more.
Though the letter opposes the proposal that stands before the Commission, it does not provide for an alternative solution. Instead, the technology firms are just calling for an "open Internet" as a vehicle for innovation and free speech, noting that "such rules are essential for the future of the Internet."
"The innovation we have seen to date happened in a world without discrimination," the letter states. "An open Internet has also been a platform for free speech and opportunity for billions of users."