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Mozilla Finesses Title II Pitch To FCC

Mozilla, the company behind the popular Firefox browser, has petitioned the FCC to declare that there are two relationships involved in Internet access service—one between the ISP and the end user sub, and another in which the ISP offers an end user access to all of its subs, and it wants the second to be classified as a Title II telecommunications service.

In essence, it would be classifying Internet access both as Title II and not Title II.

Mozilla said it was concerned by FCC chairman Tom Wheeler's proposal of a case-by-case review of commercially reasonable discrimination—part of Wheeler's proposed revamp of court-invalidated net neutrality rules.

It questions whether that approach will protect edge providers' nondiscriminatory access to subs and, "even if the FCC’s current plan is adopted and survives court review, and even if chairman Wheeler stands ready to use the FCC’s full authority to establish stronger protections later, should they become needed, Internet users and developers cannot know whether future FCC chairs will maintain vigilance," the company blogged.

Mozilla describes the two-track definition this way: "Mozilla proposes the FCC recognize two services within Internet access: local delivery connecting each end user to all edge providers, and remote delivery connecting each edge provider to all end users."

Mozilla calls that a "minimal, yet necessary action" to modernize the view of the Internet.

Mozilla argues that the approach would square with the courts and Congress and could be applied to wired and wireless. Currently, the FCC's new rules do not apply nondiscrimination or anti-blocking rules to wireless, just as the old rules did not.

"With our proposal, the FCC would be able to shift its attention away from authority questions once and for all, and focus instead on adopting clear rules prohibiting blocking and discrimination online," the company said.

The FCC is planning to vote on a draft of the chairman’s new network neutrality rule proposal May 15, but that essentially launches a comment period and the draft could be changed based on that comment.