Skip to main content

Writers Guild: It's Time for Tougher Net Regs

The Writers Guild of America West, which was already on the record supporting a Title II approach to new network neutrality regs added its voice to
those concerned about FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's preference for an approach using existing authority to create new rules that pass muster with the courts.

In a letter to Wheeler signed by almost 250 showrunners and creators, the guild "implored" the FCC to keep the 'net open and free. They are particularly troubled that the FCC's new rules will allow paid prioritization or discrimination among Internet traffic.

"If Net Neutrality is neutered, the Internet will become like cable television," they wrote. "A few corporate gatekeepers such as Comcast will be allowed to decide what content consumers can access and on what terms. The danger is that blocking, discrimination and paid prioritization could occur."

Comcast is actually subject to the old network neutrality rules through 2017, but the small screen writers were looking at the bigger picture.

"This puts decision making and power over the Internet in the hands of the few, especially those with money," they said. "The Internet is too vital to the free exchange of ideas to allow the few companies who control Internet technology to edit the ideas and content that flow through it."

The guild wants the FCC's new rules to not only prevent blocking, but to consider degrading service a form of blocking, and treat charging edge providers for faster access to consumers as unacceptable discrimination, as well as data caps or specialized services, both of which are allowable under the FCC's old Open Internet rules.