Majority of Americans clamour for net neutrality

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Most Americans believe that wireless internet firms should be covered by the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) net neutrality rule, according to survey by a key industry body.

Nearly 80 per cent of respondents strongly agreed that telcos should not be allowed to provide faster internet access to select sites and applications while blocking or slowing it down for others, said the Internet Association, which is made up of tech giants such as Google, Facebook and Twitter.

Wireless providers do not fall under the jurisdiction of these rules, so they are not prohibited from engaging in this behaviour. As a result, the Internet Association is actively lobbying for the net neutrality rule to be extended to these companies.

“There is only one Internet and the FCC’s open Internet rules should recognize that,” said its president, Michael Beckerman.

In 2010, the regulator exempted wireless internet service providers (ISPs) from these rules because their networks have limited bandwidth compared to home-based internet.

These ISPs are still espousing the same argument, but there is a possibility that the FCC could side with the Internet Association while agreeing to some compromise so that all users will get decent service.

Meanwhile, the study revealed that nearly 50 per cent of Americans don’t know the meaning of net neutrality.

Citing Wikipedia, the Internet Association gives the definition of net neutrality as “the principle that Internet service providers and governments should treat all data on the Internet equally, not discriminating or charging differently by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, and modes of communication.”

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