Mozilla Calls for Stricter Net Neutrality Rules

Browser maker files petition with FCC to reclassify the Internet

Mozilla on Monday offered an alternative to the Federal Communiations Commission’s controversial proposal to restore net neutrality.

In a 17-page filing with the FCC, Mozilla outlined another approach that would classify the Internet as a “remote delivery service” regulated under Title II of the Communications Act, the same law that regulates telephone services.

Mozilla effectively argued that the FCC should not limit its regulatory oversight to the last-mile connetion between ISPs and end users, but should also take a closer look at the relationships linking ISPs and third-party edge providers.

“Categorizing remote delivery services as telecommunications services is consistent with the guidelines set by both Congress and the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, and would give the FCC ample ability to adopt and enforce meaningful net neutrality,” wrote Mozilla’s senior policy engineer Chris Riley in a blog post. “With clear authority and effective rules, ISPs would be prevented from blocking or disriminating against any edge provider, whether on a wireline or wireless networks.”

The FCC is scheduled to vote May 15 on beginning the process of adopting new rules.

Even though the exact language of the notice for proposed rulemaking won’t be revealed until next week, the proposal offered by FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has already ignited a firestorm. Consumer groups and some lawmakers fear that Wheeler’s proposal will lead to the creation of fast lanes for content providers that can afford it. 

Wheeler has said that he would not hesitate to implement Title II if he has to. But for now, he insists that his proposal would lead to “tough, enforceable open Internet rules” and that any deal that created a “fast lane” would be shut down.