Washington DC – In a case of dueling agencies, the Department of Justice is opposing any Net Neutrality regulation in a filing with the Federal Communications Commission. The DOJ says regulation would hinder the growth of the Internet by preventing companies from charging for speedier premium content. This in turn would stop major telecommunications providers from updating or expanding their networks.
In the filing, DOJ antitrust chief Thomas Barnett said Net Neutrality would “limit consumer choice” and added that any regulation would be “premature”. In addition, the filing said the Justice Department already has the ability to regulate telecomm companies through administrative action and penalities.
Net Neutrality regulation would mandate equal access to all content for all customers. ISPs and telecomm companies would be prohibited from charging extra fees to move traffic faster, something that would in effect create a two-tier Internet. The DOJ said private companies and consumers should be the ones to decide this and not the government.
Supporters of Net Neutrality have formed the Open Internet Coalition which includes major content providers like Google and eBay. As you can expect, almost all providers, including AT&T and Verizon, opposed Net Neutrality regulation.
Back in March, the FCC opened up public comments for and against Net Neutrality regulation. Those comments officially close in June.
Congress unsuccessfully tried to pass a Net Neutrality law last year, but failed. US Senators have introduced a similar bill in this year’s Congress, but so far it hasn’t gained any traction.