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Clock ticks down on Internet speed debate

Friday, July 18, 2014 - 02:33

The FCC received more than 800,000 comments on whether and how internet speeds should be regulated, even crashing its system. Lily Jamali reports.

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This is Etsy - Don't be fooled by the unusual decor. The arsty e-commerce site is big business, with a million people selling over a billion dollars in crafts and other goods last year. Etsy's not a fan of the way the FCC's proposes to uphold "net neutrality", the idea that all web traffic should be treated equally. Etsy's head of policy Althea Erickson worries it would stifle innovation: SOUNDBITE: ALTHEA ERICKSON, HEAD OF POLICY, ETSY (ENGLISH) SAYING: "It's really hard to imagine Etsy succeeding at the scale it has under the chairman's proposed rules." And it's not just them. Traffic on the FCC website was fast and furious Tuesday.. so much so - it crashed, prompting the agency to move the initial public comment deadline to Friday. While prohibiting internet service providers - or ISPs - from blocking certain websites, the FCC proposal leaves the door open for priority deals between content companies and ISPs. Erickson says that could create a digital fast lane for those willing to pay..and a slow lane for everyone else. SOUNDBITE: LILY JAMALI, REPORTER, REUTERS TV (ENGLISH) SAYING: "It comes down to margins. Take this stuffed stapler. Listing this on Etsy costs the seller 20 cents, plus 3 and a half percent of the sale. Etsy says that's low by e-commerce standards." SOUNDBITE: ALTHEA ERICKSON, HEAD OF POLICY, ETSY (ENGLISH) SAYING: "If we were to move into a world where you had to pay for priority access to consumers, our low margins would really make that difficult. Then we'd end up in that slow lane and the people who really end up paying for it would be the Etsy sellers who depend on our platform." Etsy's no Netflix. It relies on photos - not video. Still, Erickson says slow-loading photos can cost its sellers real income. Like Etsy, Netflix and other internet giants like Google and Amazon have told the FCC they're against paid prioritization. But former Senator and industry association Broadband for America co-chairman John Sununu says worries about a two-tiered internet.. are unfounded. SOUNDBITE: JOHN SUNUNU, HONORARY CO-CHAIRMAN, BROADBAND FOR AMERICA (ENGLISH) SAYING: "People who raise this as a bogey man - they're really just doing so so they can push the heaviest handed form of regulation they can." Sununu's concerned about ISPs being regulated like utilities, saying they spend billions on infrastructure. He favors less regulation: SOUNDBITE: JOHN SUNUNU, HONORARY CO-CHAIRMAN, BROADBAND FOR AMERICA (ENGLISH) SAYING: "The last thing we should do is write regulations because we think someone might engage in a business practice 5 or 10 years from now." The FCC will have 800,000 comments to read…and counting.

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Clock ticks down on Internet speed debate

Friday, July 18, 2014 - 02:33