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Tech Firms Praise New FCC Net Neutrality Proposal

"There is only one Internet, and users expect that they be able to access an uncensored Internet regardless of how they connect." The FCC chair backs President Obama's push for an open internet.

Posted on February 4, 2015, at 12:33 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON — The trade group representing the nation's biggest technology firms moved quickly to get behind proposed Net Neutrality rules announced by the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission Wednesday.

The new rules, proposed by FCC Chair Tom Wheeler in a Wired op-ed, would regulate internet service providers like a utility, giving the government broad regulatory powers to ensure ISPs don't create preferred pathways for some websites while chocking off access to others. The proposals, which need to be approved by the full FCC when it votes later this month, are opposed by the major telecommunications companies and their allies in Washington.

Tech companies, however, are broadly supportive.

"Internet companies are pleased to hear that Chairman Wheeler intends to enact strong, enforceable, and legally sustainable net neutrality rules that include bright-line rules that ban paid prioritization, blocking, and discrimination online," Michael Beckerman, president and CEO of the Internet Association — a group representing the biggest players on the internet including Google, Twitter, Amazon, and Netflix — said in a statement.

Beckerman said tech firms are still waiting for the full text of Wheeler's proposals, but what they've seen so far, they really like.

"We thank Chairman Wheeler for including equal treatment of wireless and fixed broadband connections in his proposal," he said. "There is only one Internet, and users expect that they be able to access an uncensored Internet regardless of how they connect. It is also important that broadband gatekeepers not use interconnection as a chokepoint to thwart net neutrality protections by degrading consumer access and harming online services."

Rules like the ones proposed by Wheeler Wednesday were the hope of the tech industry after President Obama came out in support of regulating ISPs like a utility last November, a move that surprised and delighted the tech industry.

A White House aide did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wheeler's proposal.

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