Mozilla, the company behind the Firefox web browser and the Firefox OS, proposed a solution to the ongoing debate over net neutrality on Monday. Mozilla’s alternative creates separate rules for “remote delivery” services (Google, Netflix, Hulu, etc.) which have a distinct relationship with ISPs.
Mozilla filed its petition with the FCC on Monday, asking the agency to recognize the third-party involved in the connection between an ISP and a subscriber. “Our petition asks the FCC to adopt a modern understanding of the Internet.” said Chris Riley, senior policy engineer at Mozilla. “This will also ensure that the FCC can adopt meaningful net neutrality rules with no blocking and no paid prioritization that will stand up in court.”
The relationship in question could be identified as transport under Title II of the 1996 Telecommunications Act. Mozilla says that ISPs have more than just an obligation to deliver data without discrimination and should operate fairly when delivering data from content providers.
The Mozilla blog post explains:
“Categorizing remote delivery services as telecommunications services is consistent with the guidelines set by both Congress and the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, and would give the FCC ample ability to adopt and enforce meaningful net neutrality. With clear authority and effective rules, ISPs would be prevented from blocking or discriminating against any edge provider, whether on a wireline or wireless network.”
However, Mozilla’s new proposal may face trouble. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler noted that “reclassification” may be too early and not necessary. Ever since the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the old FCC’s net neutrality rules in January, Wheeler has been trying to reinstate the old rules that could survive future court rulings. Wheeler believes the FCC can still achieve its goals of net neutrality with its current classification of ISP relationships. “The FCC has moved the goal post in 20 yards and given themselves touchdown,” Mozilla’s Riley told CNET in response. “But that’s not where the goal post is.”
Furthermore, ISPs such as Comcast and Verizon will fight Mozilla’s plan for new net neutrality rules especially since ISP companies have been known to fight FCC attempts at reclassification. Mozilla plans to continue the fight for net neutrality and stated, “We plan to continue working with policymakers and thought leaders on Internet policy to develop and advance these ideas over the next few weeks.”
Mozilla’s new proposal could drastically change the landscape of the Internet. The recognition of “remote delivery” services as legitimate relationships could ensure net neutrality. On May 15, the FCC will open the proposal to public comment and vote on Mozilla’s new net neutrality rules.
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