(Adds intention of FCC to move ahead with proposals at May 15
By Alina Selyukh
WASHINGTON May 7 Over 100 leading technology
companies, including Google Inc, Facebook Inc,
Twitter Inc and Amazon.com Inc, have written
to U.S. telecom regulators to oppose a new "net neutrality" plan
that would regulate how Internet providers manage web traffic.
The letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom
Wheeler and the agency's four commissioners, warning of a "grave
threat to the Internet," came amid calls for a delay in a vote
on the plan scheduled for May 15.
"Rushing headlong into a rulemaking next week fails to
respect the public response to his (Wheeler's) proposal," FCC
Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said on Wednesday in remarks
prepared for delivery to an industry meeting. She called for a
delay of "at least a month" on Wheeler's plan.
FCC spokesman Neil Grace said Wheeler still intends to put
forward his proposals for public comment next week, as planned,
as part of a "robust public debate" on the Internet.
"Moving forward will allow the American people to review and
comment on the proposed plan without delay, and bring us one
step closer to putting rules on the books to protect consumers
and entrepreneurs online," Grace said in a statement.
With two Republican commissioners broadly opposed to
regulation of Internet traffic, the support of two Democrats on
the panel - Rosenworcel and Mignon Clyburn - is critical.
Tens of thousands of public comments have been received by
the FCC on Wheeler's plan over the past two weeks, and
commission staff has met with nearly 100 stakeholders, including
public interest groups and Internet content providers.
The latest to weigh in is the consortium of technology and
Internet companies, which ranged from household names to small
startups. They called on the FCC to "take the necessary steps to
ensure that the Internet remains an open platform for speech and
Commission rules should not permit "individualized
bargaining and discrimination," the companies said.
Engine Advocacy and New America's Open Technology Institute,
long-time supporters of Open Internet policies, helped organize
(Reporting by Alina Selyukh; Editing by Ros Krasny, Sandra
Maler and Jan Paschal)