New Net Neutrality Alliance Formed

Filled With Title II Fans Pushing What They Say Is Free Market Approach
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Fans of strong network neutrality rules (read Title II) have formed a new alliance, the Internet Freedom Business Alliance, to lobby for "the most legally sound and simplest path" to restoring the FCC's Open Internet order.

The new group bills itself as backing a "free market" approach to an Open Internet. It is not clear which of the many variations of new rules on the table fits that bill--a spokesperson was not immediately available for comment--but the alliance is filled with Title II reclassification fans, including COMPTEL, Kickstarter, Vimeo, Tumblr, reddit and others, and some signal was given by alliance member Tumblr.

"Only bright-line rules that can prevent fast lanes and traffic discrimination will continue to foster free expression and ensure that aspiring entrepreneurs can innovate simply with great ideas and the ability to execute against them," said Tumblr General Counsel, Ari Shahdadi.

The alliance says it will "push for a solution that allows the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to take the most legally sound and simplest path to ensure Internet access to Americans," and will "actively engage and educate members of Congress to underscore how only a free market approach will enable entrepreneurs to continue to thrive and help the U.S. economy grow."

Members, described as a combination of conservatives, main street businesses and tech companies. also include the National Association of Realtors, the Computer and Communications Association, Cogent, and Etsy.

The FCC is currently mulling a host of options for restoring net neutrality rules thrown out by the court. That includes FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's initial proposal for a Sec. 706-based approach, which many in the alliance are on the record criticizing for a commercially reasonable standard of allowable discrimination they say would create Internet fast and slow lanes. Also on the table is reclassifying ISPs under Title II common carrier regs, but not applying most, or a hybrid approach using both 706 and Title II, in one variant reclassifying as Title II, but not applying it unless Sec. 706-based rules are again thrown out by the court, as some fear.

At a net neutrality forum at the FCC, just about the only thing the panelists could agree on is that whatever the FCC does, someone will challenge it in court.