A top net neutrality defender is trying to poke holes in Mozilla’s plan for the open Internet

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[Commentary] Leading network neutrality proponent Barbara van Schewick, a Stanford University law scholar, pointed out three tiny words that threaten to undermine Mozilla's proposal to heavily regulate the relationship between Internet service providers (ISPs) and digital content companies as telecommunications services.

"The definition of 'telecommunications service' requires that telecommunications is offered 'for a fee,'" van Schewick wrote. That's problematic, van Schewick argued, for a couple of reasons. If the FCC adopts Mozilla's proposal, then the FCC's net neutrality regulations wouldn't cover Internet providers that don't charge content companies an access fee.

More troubling to van Schewick, though, is how the phrase "for a fee" would complicate efforts to ban fee-based content prioritization. At a basic level, what Mozilla is asking the FCC to do is to single out fee-charging ISPs (because non-fee-charging ISPs would be exempted under the definition of "telecommunications service") and then turn around and tell them, based on that very same part of the Communications Act, that they can't charge those fees.


A top net neutrality defender is trying to poke holes in Mozilla’s plan for the open Internet Petition to Recognize Remote Delivery Services in Terminating Access Networks and Classify Services as Telecommunications Services under Title II of The Communications Act (Read Mozilla petition to FCC)