Broadcasters who have already been going toe-to-toe with the Consumer Electronics Association and CTIA: The Wireless Industry Association over spectrum issues face a new and powerful group lobbying for a broadband-centric future.
A passel of Internet powerhouses have banded together to form what they bill as the first trade association representing the Internet economy, The Internet Association.
The association boasts 14 members -- Amazon, AOL, eBay, Expedia, Facebook, Google, IAC (Bing), LinkedIn, Monster Worldwide, Rackspace, salesforce.com, TripAdvisor, Yahoo and Zynga. Notably absent from that list of search giants Microsoft, which has squared off against Google in that space.
The association will be run by president and CEO Michal Beckerman, who until June was the deputy staff director at the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
The companies bill the group as "an umbrella public policy organization dedicated to strengthening and protecting a free and innovative Internet" that will be relentless in pushing its policy goals.
Their main goals, which sound like they were plucked from speech by FCC chairman Julius Genachowski (himself a former exec with Barry Diller's IAC) are: "Protecting Internet freedom; fostering innovation and economic growth; empowering users," and, in the process, "educating policymakers on the profound positive impacts of the Internet and Internet companies on jobs, economic growth, freedom, creativity, commerce, productivity, education, prosperity and the global economy."
There are a host of issues to keep the group busy, including cybersecurity, online privacy and piracy, the impact of usage plans on video use, freeing up more spectrum for wireless -- a longtime Google goal -- and the status of over-the-top video. The FCC is currently considering whether or not to classify online video distributors as multichannel video providers, which would mean granting them the same rights and responsibilities under FCC rules as cable and satellite carriers.