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Net Neutrality Lobbying to Peak this Week

by Cecilia Kang

Expect lobbying around net neutrality to reach fever pitch through Tuesday. After that, the Federal Communications Commission will go into its bunker to deliberate a draft of rules that will be voted on Dec. 21.

One group, Free Press, plans to let the FCC know that it doesn't like what it has heard so far. The public interest group will deliver a petition to the agency, with 2 million signatures, saying draft rules that don't regulate wireless networks with anti-discrimination provisions do not go far enough. The petition also will call for stronger rules that prohibit network operators from offering paid prioritization of some services that could effectively make the delivery of other Web sites worse. Free Press and dozens of other media reform and consumer advocacy groups jointly sent a letter along these lines last week.

AT&T executive vice president Jim Cicconi continued to make his rounds at the FCC last week, meeting with Chairman Jules Genachowski's staff and Republican commissioners Robert McDowell and Meredith Attwell Baker. Cicconi stressed that any rules approved by the commission shouldn't go beyond legislative proposals offered earlier this year that keep wireless networks largely free of regulation. AT&T has been among the most active companies lobbying on the issue in recent weeks.

The Open Internet Coalition, a group that represents some public interest groups along with Silicon Valley giants such as Google, Facebook and Amazon, plans to send a letter Monday to Genachowski saying it won't support the rules as they reportedly stand. The OIC wants clear definitions on what a broadband service provider is; equal rules applied to wireless networks; and a legal presumption that paid prioritization won't be allowed.

Related stories:
FCC's Clyburn optimistic about net neutrality consensus

FCC's net neutrality plan gets picked apart from all sides

FCC's net neutrality plan opens doors for paid fast lanes, higher rates for consumers

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