Four congressmen have joined the opposition to the net neutrality proposal authored by Google and Verizon last week.
In a three-page letter to Chairman Julius Genachowski, the representatives, all Democrats -- Edward Markey, Anna Eshoo, Mike Doyle and Jay Inslee -- urge the FCC chief to not sign-on to the plan put forth by with a "vested financial interest in the outcome," as the congressmen wrote. The Verizon-Google proposal would only prohibit wireline operators from discriminating against any applications, content and other traffic on the open Internet. Such prohibitions would not, however, be imposed on wireless carriers.
Net neutrality proponents have mobilized against that plan, noting that the rules must include both wireline and wireless providers. Google, Verizon, and rival AT&T claim that wireless networks should be allowed to play by different rules to nuture competition in the burgeoning market.
In the letter, the congressmen state their support for Genachowski's "third way," a proposal to classify broadband providers under Title II carrier rules, providing the FCC "forbearance authority" over carriers.
The authors note that the FCC must have oversight authority for broadband access services. Further, they state that paid prioritization of content would close off the Internet, which is "contrary to the fundamental non-discrimination principles that have made the Internet the most successful in history," and add that, "these types of arrangements, whether they are called 'paid prioritization' or 'fast lanes' harm the Internet."
Proponents of those so-called "fast-lanes" believe fewer restrictions will encourage growth in the broadband segment. Research has found the U.S. lagging behind in broadband adoption, especially in countries with little or no regulation; some believe less regulation will spur investment in the sector.