FCC Racks Up 22 Million Comments Criticizing Move to Gut Net Neutrality

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The FCC, led by Republican chairman Ajit Pai, voted in May to start the formal process of unwinding the 2015 rules.

An Apple representative declined to comment further on the filing.

After several tech giants, including Google and Facebook, supported Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) plan to roll back Obama-era net neutrality rules, Apple called on the USA communications regulatory agency to keep "strong, enforceable open internet protections".

"Paid fast lanes could replace today's content-neutral transmission of internet traffic with differential treatment of content based on an online providers' ability or willingness to pay".

Comcast regulatory chief David Cohen urged Congress to step in and end what he described as a "Groundhog Day" being played out by FCC in regard to net neutrality regulation.

The comments saw AT&T Inc and Comcast Corp on one side pitched against Netflix Inc and other "edge providers" such as Facebook Inc, Amazon.com Inc and Alphabet Inc.'s Google on the other, with comments from citizens, public interest groups, Attorneys General and others thrown into the mix. "There is simply no reasonable justification for repealing the net neutrality protections now on the books". "Simply put, the internet is too important to consumers and too essential to innovation to be left unprotected and uncertain", the company said in the letter. Reuters reports the meeting has been canceled, but the committee had invited major tech companies and internet service providers to join the conversation.

Trump's FCC has been working to destroy net neutrality rules since January.

Apple's stance on the issue dovetails with that of many tech companies: Many tech firms say that, given the opportunity, Internet service providers could strangle new apps and websites by forcing them to pay fees or by providing better, faster service for only some apps and sites. "Providers of online goods and services need assurance that they will be able to reach their customers without interference from the underlying broadband providers", said Apple in its comments. But even with the fate of the open internet at stake, Pai's proposal might sail through without a huge public fight.