Internet Entrepreneur Asks FCC To Stay Net Neutrality Order

The Federal Communications Commission should stay the new net neutrality rules, entrepreneur and Voice over Internet Protocol pioneer Daniel Berninger argues in a new filing.

Berninger, who founded the nonprofit Voice Communication Exchange, says in a petition filed this week that the net neutrality order “threatens his livelihood.”

The regulations, which are slated to take effect in June, prohibit broadband providers from blocking or degrading traffic and from paid prioritization deals, which involve charging higher fees for faster delivery.

Berninger contends that the ban on prioritized delivery will harm his ability to implement new HD voice services.

“HD voice service requires that network operators prioritize the traffic because latency, jitter, and packet loss in the transmission of a communications threaten voice quality and destroy the value proposition of an HD service,” he argues in his request for a stay. “Network operators exchanging HD voice traffic will reasonably expect to receive compensation or some other benefit in consideration for providing such prioritization.”



Not everyone agrees with Berninger's analysis.

“He is wrong,” says Matt Wood, policy director of Free Press, which advocates for net neutrality principles. He adds that the rules actually “make sure that people can offer over-the-top services, riding on the communications networks.”

Wood also points out that the FCC's net neutrality rules -- and the common carrier principles broadly -- allow for exceptions. But he adds that Berninger hasn't yet presented evidence showing that HD voice needs prioritized delivery.

The rules, adopted in February, state that the FCC can waive the ban on paid prioritization if a company demonstrates that a practice “would provide some significant public interest benefit and would not harm the open nature of the Internet.”

Various trade groups and broadband providers, including AT&T, have sued the FCC to invalidate the regulations, but Berninger is the first one to ask the agency to stay enforcement.

Soon after the FCC voted in favor of the rules, he criticized the order as a “legal coup d'etat.”

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