Benton Statement on Network Neutrality Proceeding

On April 24, 2014, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler released a statement, “Setting the Record Straight on the FCC’s Open Internet Rules,” saying that a draft Notice of Proposed Rulemaking follows the roadmap established by the D.C. Court as to how to enforce rules of the road that protect an Open Internet and asks for further comments on the approach. The following may be attributed to Benton Foundation Director of Policy Amina Fazlullah:

The Benton Foundation welcomes the Federal Communications Commission’s continued efforts to preserve a free and open Internet. However, we are concerned to read that the Commission may consider crafting rules which allow for content companies to pay Internet service providers for special access to consumers. If we move to a “pay for play” Internet, who pays for access for school homework assignments and distance learning, e-government services and databases, job-training videos and job applications? The people who can least afford to pay – low-income families – are the most at risk.

Any net neutrality proposal must ensure the same quality access to online educational content as to entertainment and other commercial offerings. We need to ensure that the Internet remains a medium for opportunity not just an opportunity for Internet providers to increase profits.

For more on what is being proposed by the FCC, see The Next Chapter in the #NetNeutrality Saga