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Stronger net neutrality rules needed for both wireless and wired Internet services

Consumers Union calls on FCC to support stronger net neutrality rules, apply equal standards to wireless and wired services

WASHINGTON, DC – In comments filed today at the Federal Communications Commission, Consumers Union called on the FCC to support stronger net neutrality rules, saying the same protections should be applied equally to wireless Internet networks and fixed, wired Internet services.

Consumers Union, the advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, has long argued that the best way for the FCC to restore the principles of net neutrality is to reclassify broadband Internet service as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Communications Act. This would help protect against practices that harm consumers and competition, and help ensure consumers can reap the benefits of an affordable and accessible Internet.  Open Internet standards for wired services should apply to wireless networks as well, especially as more consumers use mobile devices to access the Internet, the group said.

“Consumers deserve strong net neutrality protections whether they access content online from a computer or from a mobile phone,” said Delara Derakhshani, policy counsel for Consumers Union, in today’s filing.  “Our concerns regarding mobile broadband are not unlike those in the fixed Internet-service-provider marketplace. With enormous subscriber bases and control over the means by which content reaches consumers, the largest wireless carriers are in a prime position to exert leverage over smaller competitors, app developers, and consumers, with the power to dictate how consumers can receive content, and what prices they must pay.”

The FCC collected initial comments on its proposed Open Internet rules this past summer.  Today marks the deadline for replies to those initial comments.   Consumers Union’s reply comments today are available here.  Its initial FCC filing from July is online here.

Ms. Derakhshani will participate in the FCC’s Open Internet Roundtable Discussion about the application of net neutrality rules to mobile broadband on September 16 at FCC’s headquarters.  More information about the roundtable is available here.

Contact:  David Butler, dbutler@consumer.org, 202-462-6262 or Michael McCauley, mmccauley@consumer.org, 415-902-9537 (cell)