DGA: Extend Net Rules to Edge Provider 'Gatekeepers'

Commenters keep it coming on FCC's controversial 'net dereg

Reactions to the FCC's historic--or not, depending on whom you ask--vote to eliminate most net neutrality rules drew a a bucketload, or perhaps "docketload" is a better measure, of comments Thursday.

Here is a sampling of more of that input on what was the most-commented on FCC item in the history of the agency.

First, there were the directors, who joined the writers (WGAW) to slam the decision as a threat to their creative community.

"We are deeply disappointed with the FCC’s decision to repeal net neutrality rules. All lawful internet traffic should be treated equally," DGA said. "The FCC’s ruling is a blow to the creative community and threatens the ability of our members, and other creators, to make their works available to internet users without interference."

Related: FCC, FTC Sign on to Net Monitoring Framework

But DGA was with chairman FCC Ajit Pai on one major issue: "[W]e share chairman Ajit Pai’s concern that there should be a level playing field between Internet Service Providers and Edge Providers such as the major Silicon Valley platforms," the guild said.

"[W]e believe – as expressed in our filings – that the best way to achieve that objective is to extend net neutrality rules to apply to all of the online gatekeepers, including the dominant platforms that control the flow of content to viewers’ screens. The FCC’s decision to repeal net neutrality takes us in the wrong direction."

Scott Cleland, president of Precursor LLC and head of broadband-backer NETCompetition, agreed that the government should look equally at both edge and ISP, but from the same deregulatory perch Pai and the Republican majority had set up with the rule rollback.

"Arguably, most all the controversies and conflicts over net neutrality for the last fifteen years have resulted from a supposed neutrality principle applied non-neutrally, to favor Internet intermediary distribution networks like Google, Amazon and Facebook, and cloud computing networks, like Amazon, Microsoft and Google, over legacy communications and content networks," he said.

Related: NHMC: We're Suing FCC Over Net Neutrality Rule Rollback

"The FCC, in voting 3-2 for the Restoring Internet Freedom Order, is legitimately implementing net neutrality in a neutral fashion, i.e. treating similar information services similarly with the same light touch, under the same market transparency enforcement oversight at the FTC, and not taking sides by non-neutrally, picking winners and losers from the start."

Pro-'net deregulation group Free Out Internet--as in from overregulation--was just pleased the bright-line rules had been smudged out.

"Today’s [now yesterday's] vote by the Federal Communications Commission to roll back the Obama administration’s oppressive Title II regulations is a victory for American citizens and proponents of free expression, absent government control," it said.

"Contrary to the current misinformation campaign, the move mirrored those of authoritarian regimes worldwide seeking more top-down control of communication networks. Today, the FCC made the right decision in spite of mass hysteria completely out of touch with reality and history, which was primarily driven by far left activists who receive millions from liberal foundations and some of the biggest corporation..." Those activists called Pai a puppet of communications monopolies bent on killing the open internet, hyperbolic rhetoric that reached a fever pitch in online death threats and ad hominem attacks on the chairman and his family by a vocal and passionate minority.

Related: Franken: Edge Providers Need Net Neutrality Rules

Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, was definitely an American for 'net reg reform.

"Despite the death threats, the bomb threats, and the racist rants, Ajit Pai led the fight to end Obama’s bid to turn the Internet into a government regulated utility like an electric power plant. Ajit Pai and the Commission voted to restore independence and freedom to the Internet. An open Internet worked well through the 80s and 90s and 2000s. Title II, the Obama power grab in 2015 was a very real threat to a free Internet has now been pushed into the dustbin of history."

President Barack Obama famously made a YouTube video urging the FCC to reclassify ISPs under Title II.

Another fan of the move was Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), chairman of the Senate Communications Subcommittee. But he also signaled it could be a kick in the pants to Congress to get together on legislation that would both promote the net and protect business investment in networks.

“The internet has thrived since its creation without being classified as a public-utility under a Depression-era regulatory framework," he said. "However, common ground exists. All sides agree that we want to keep the internet free, open, and vibrant. I believe that under chairman Pai’s leadership, this is again possible. The FCC’s vote to restore a light-touch to the internet should also kick-start the legislative process in Congress. I am eager to get to work and pass a long-term solution that will protect the internet, encourage innovation, boost investment, and close the digital divide.”

The Benton foundation, a big supporter of Title II, was not counting strong net regs out just yet. "The Orwellian-named, so-called Restoring Internet Freedom Order is a blow to competition and innovation, to diversity and our most-vulnerable communities, to equity and our democracy," said Executive Director Adrienne Furniss. "But the darkest hour is just before the dawn. And Benton joins millions in fighting for the dawn. We lost a battle today, but more will come. In the courts. And at the ballot box. We hold on to hope that true internet freedom will prevail."