updated 06:25 pm EDT, Mon May 5, 2014
Browser developer wants FCC to better understand the modern internet
The development team behind Firefox has submitted a petition to the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), outlining a proposal on how net neutrality could be handled going forward. The 17-page document from Mozilla presents a plan to keep the Internet open, but centers on the proviso of the FCC declaring the relationship between internet service providers (ISPs) and edge providers as common carrier.
The basis for the plan would require the FCC to re-examine its standing on last-mile Internet routing. Mozilla is asking that the FCC understand the changes in technology to view last-mile delivery as two separate relationships, instead of one as it is viewed now.
"Technological evolution has led to two distinct relationships in the last mile of the network: the current one, between an ISP and an end user, which is unchanged, plus a "remote delivery" service offered by an ISP to an 'edge provider' (such as Dropbox, for example) connecting the provider to all of the ISP's end users" explains Senior Policy Engineer Chris Riley on Mozilla's blog.
Penned by Riley and Global Privacy and Public Police Lead Alex Fowler, the report attempts to paint the importance of labeling the second outlined relationship, remote delivery services, as telecommunications services as allowed under Title II of the Communications Act. Doing so would be "consistent with the guidelines set by both Congress and the DC Circuit Court of Appeals."
Appealing to the burden of the agency, Mozilla provides a possible perk in classifying this relationship as common carrier rather than applying it only to ISPs. The FCC would have less leg work to accomplish taking this path. Staying the current course may otherwise involve undoing years-old classifications of broadband as an "information service."
The result would give the FCC a better basis to enforce net neutrality without allowing loopholes for companies to take advantage of for faster content delivery. The FCC would have clear authority to prevent blocking or shifting connection speeds based on discriminatory practices.
The full petition from Mozilla can be read here.