Yelp Backs FCC's Planned Broadband Regs

Like Amazon, Etsy and numerous other Web companies, Yelp today said that it supports the Federal Communications Commission's anticipated net neutrality rules.

Yelp said in a blog post that it was “incredibly pleased” with FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's recent proposal that the agency reclassify broadband as a utility service. “This reclassification will ensure strong, robust, and enforceable net neutrality protections,” Yelp wrote.

The review site adds that it isn't “directly opposed” to new legislation by Congress, but adds that any new law should “at the very least meet the threshold of net neutrality protections set by the FCC.”

Yelp adds: “Anything less will likely cause more harm than good for the Internet and public at-large.”

Last month, Republican lawmakers unveiled a bill that would require broadband providers to follow some net neutrality principles, but prevent the FCC from enacting more stringent rules. That measure -- which is opposed by many open Internet advocates -- would specifically prohibit the FCC from reclassifying broadband service as a utility. It also would strip the FCC of authority to lift restrictions on municipal broadband.

Yelp's statement comes eight days before the FCC is slated to vote on whether to reclassify broadband as a utility service. Doing so will allow the agency to pass the kinds of common carrier regulations that would prohibit providers from blocking or degrading traffic, according to advocates. Reclassification also will enable the FCC to ban paid prioritization deals, which involve content companies paying higher fees for faster delivery of their material.

Even the FCC is expected to vote next Thursday to move forward with those rules, the decision won't come close to resolving the issue. Internet service providers including Verizon and AT&T, as well industry lobbying groups, have all but vowed to take the agency to court -- in which case, questions surrounding how broadband providers deliver traffic won't be settled for years to come.









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