Mobile groups enter net neutrality row

Backlash for US proposals to sustain a ?free internet flow? on wireless networks
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A number of mobile internet groups have expressed alarm at the FCC’s pivotal pledge to support the free flow of information across the web.

Numerous ISPs want to apply blocks to certain internet channels and services, arguing that the free amounts of data on the web harms competition.

Yesterday however, the head of the FCC backed the current system of treating all internet data equally – an initiative known as net neutrality.

The FCC also said, however, that the principles of a ‘free
internet’ should also be applied to wireless and mobile services. Many mobile providers believe this is a mistake.

“We are concerned the FCC appears ready to extend the entire array of net neutrality requirements to what is perhaps the most competitive consumer market in America - wireless services," said Jim Cicconi of wireless network group AT&T.

David Cohen, executive vice-president at Comcast, echoed Cicconi’s dismay.

"The internet in America has been a phenomenal success that has spawned technological and business innovation unmatched anywhere else in the world," he said, “so it's still fair to ask whether increased regulation of the internet is a solution in search of a problem."

The biggest cellphone operator in the US, Verizon, was also critical of the FCC’s pledge. The company said the FCC had no reason to “limit customer choices and affect content providers, application developers, device manufacturers and network builders.”

During a speech, FCC chairman Julius Genachowski avoided the ongoing war of words between vocal consumer groups and ISPs on the net neutrality debate.

Speaking from a technological standpoint, Genachowski said that an open internet is “the best thing we can do to promote investment and innovation. And while there are some who see every policy decision as either pro-business or pro-consumer, I reject that approach; it's not the right way to see technology's role in America."

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