Apple defends the open internet in a letter to the FCC

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On the heels of setting the date for its big fall iPhone event, Apple is coming out swinging for net neutrality. In a letter to the FCC, Apple’s U.S. Vice President for Public Policy Cynthia Hogan advocates for the open internet, cautioning against practices that would allow providers to favor some forms of traffic while throttling the speed of others.

“Broadband providers should not block, throttle, or otherwise discriminate against lawful websites and services. Far from new, this has been a foundational principle of the FCC’s approach to net neutrality for over a decade. Providers of online goods and services need assurance that they will be able to reliably reach their customers without interference from the underlying broadband provider,” the letter argues.

Apple goes on to voice its opposition to internet fast lanes, also called “paid prioritization,” a practice that would allow broadband companies to sell content providers faster access for some consumers.

“Paid fast lanes could replace today’s content-neutral transmission of internet traffic with differential treatment of content based on an online providers’ ability or willingness to pay. The result would be an internet with distorted competition where online providers are driven to reach deals with broadband providers or risk being stuck in the slow lane and losing customers due to lower quality service,” Hogan wrote.

Apple cites the fear that broadband providers create “winners and losers,” a scenario in which big companies could afford to pay up and emerging companies would suffer.

“Apple remains open to alternative sources of legal authority, but only if they provide for strong, enforceable, and legally sustainable protections, like those in place today. Simply put, the internet is too important to consumers and too essential to innovation to be left unprotected and uncertain,” the letter states.

As a major platform for streaming entertainment, Apple has a clear stake in the fight for net neutrality — one that’s only likely to grow as the company invests aggressively in making its own original content.