The Internet Association is composed of Facebook, Google, Lyft, Netflix, and others. They've released a statement detailing plans to join the pending lawsuits levied against the Federal Communications Commission. Those cases should drop once the FCC's repeal reaches the Federal Register in the next few months.
Internet Association CEO Michael Beckerman stated,
"The final version of Chairman Pai's rule, as expected, dismantles popular net neutrality protections for consumers. This rule defies the will of a bipartisan majority of Americans and fails to preserve a free and open internet. IA intends to act as an intervenor in judicial action against this order and, along with our member companies, will continue our push to restore strong, enforceable net neutrality protections through a legislative solution."
Preserving net neutrality by means of a legislative solution could prove difficult. Major ISP's like Comcast and AT&T are also fighting for legislative solutions, but their purpose is to "pass a loophole-filled net neutrality law with one real function: preventing tougher, real rules from being passed later."
It all sounds good, but where was all of this noise when the existing rules could have been left in place? Members of the Internet Association like Facebook, Google and Netflix have all proven in the past their support of net neutrality is questionable.
Facebook has consistently been criticized for trampling net neutrality in other countries. The company was recently called out in India for a walled-garden system that offered free access to only Facebook-selected content partners.
The practice was eventually banned by the Indian government once Mozilla and others argued funding access to the entire Internet had a larger impact than providing a limited version of it to those living in India.
Google publically supported net neutrality until 2010 after its interest in Google Fiber and Project Fi resulted in a reversal of public Google policy positions. It's also worth noting that even though the search giant lobbied for net neutrality protections in 2010, it also worked in secret with AT&T and Verizon to make sure the initial rules were weak and essentially useless.
Google is typically portrayed as a net neutrality advocate in the media, but actual support from Google is rarely found outside of official statements from proxy groups like the Internet Association, according to Motherboard.
Netflix now has the resources to combat any "pay for play" efforts imposed by ISP's and the company's CEO Reed Hastings made it clear that Netflix is above any problems associated with the net neutrality repeal stating, "it's not narrowly important to us because we're big enough to get the deals we want."
"The Trump FCC is going to unwind the rules no matter what anybody says," he continued. He agreed net neutrality is "important for society" but the issue is no longer the company's "primary battle at this point" adding "we don't have a special vulnerability to it."
"We had to carry the water when we were growing up and we were small, but other companies have to be on that leading edge."
This is a classic example of forgetting where you came from. It was a major obstacle for the company when it was still growing, but now that it is immune to its effects, it's a non-issue.
All of the companies that are part of the Internet Association are not as hypocritical, however. There are some that have remained dedicated to preserving net neutrality since the beginning.
Etsy, an e-commerce website that specializes in handmade vintage items and supplies, issued a statement detailing plans to file suit against the FCC on behalf of small businesses that depend on a healthy, competitive internet.
"The FCC's decision to overturn net neutrality rules was deeply disappointing for those of us who have fought so hard for the strong protections that enable millions of microbusinesses to start and grow online. Under the FCC's new proposal, millions of small business, like Etsy's 1.9 million sellers, could find themselves in the internet slow lane or blocked altogether."
The Internet Association is just one of many industry groups and consumer advocacy firms expected to sue the FCC's repeal, on the grounds that the agency failed to consider expert analysis and public interest while relying primarily on telecom lobbying statistics to end net neutrality.
Do you think the fight to save net neutrality by these companies is sincere?