Letter to FCC Calls for Transparency of Zero-Rating Plans

In a Tuesday morning letter to the Federal Trade Commission, a group of tech companies and advocates including the Center for Media Justice, Yelp, Pinterest, and Kickstarter have expressed concerned over the FCC’s application of net neutrality rules to zero-rating plans.

The letter calls for transparency in the FCC’s evaluation of these individual plans:

“In the Open Internet Order, the FCC declined to issue a bright-line rule against zero-rating, noting a lack of consensus on the issue in the record. However, in the time since the Order was released, ISPs have created a broad enough set of test cases that a decision on each of them would have much the same effect as a new rule, only without the same public participation and transparency. Making decisions on these cases would set precedents for future practices, and would have implications for the Internet ecosystem that reach far beyond the stakeholders directly affected by these individual plans.”

Zero-rating plans, introduced by Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile, are plans that exempt applications from users’ monthly data caps. Zero-rating plans give Internet service providers (ISPs) the power to choose types of content and services. More than 80% of voters are concerned about ISPs having the ability to pick and choose content.

Government and ISP control of Internet content is an issue addressed in Article IV of FreedomWorks’ Digital Bill of Rights:

IV. Government shall not erect barriers to prevent or control Internet access.

The government should never actively prevent people from being able to take advantage of the Internet’s bounty. This means no taxation of Internet access, and not restricting the means by which service providers offer access.

Endorse Internet freedom and the Digital Bill of Rights here.