This article was originally published by Telecompaper and has ben republished in its entirety.

US ISP Cogent Communications said that it sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) together with 37 companies and 21 grassroots NGOs, calling for a free and open internet and for an open, public process around the review of the zero-rating plans offered by Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile.

Business signatories to the letter include Pinterest, Etsy, Vimeo, Automattic, Yelp, Cogent, Level 3, Medium, Mozilla, Union Square Ventures, Tumblr, Vimeo and Kickstarter. The civil society groups included the Center for Media Justice, 18 Million, Center for Rural Strategies, Engine Advocacy, Fight for the Future, Demand Progress, Daily Kos, and Access Now.

The letter’s signers reference the FCC’s open public process for the net neutrality ruling last year. They note that in the Open Internet Order, the FCC declined to issue a bright-line rule against zero-rating, noting a lack of consensus on the issue in the record. “However, in the time since the Order was released, ISPs have created a broad enough set of test cases that a decision on each of them would have much the same effect as a new rule, only without the same public participation and transparency. These decisions are too important to happen behind closed doors,” the letter states.

The letter was sent to the FCC before the Commission’s open meeting on 25 May.


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