Skype is a member of the OIC. In its filing with the FCC, though, Skype expressed additional concerns related more specifically to the issues it has faced trying to provide VoIP (Voice over IP) services over wireless provider broadband networks.
Skype acknowledges that wireless broadband services face unique data consumption issues, but cautions the FCC not to exempt from, or provide other special treatment for wireless broadband within the net neutrality guidelines. "As wireless broadband connections become more popular and ubiquitous, and with the rise of smartphones, a growing number of consumers are subscribing to wireless broadband connections. These consumers increasingly expect similar Internet experiences across all broadband connections."
Of course, the wireless providers have a different point of view. The CTIA, also referred to as The Wireless Association, asserts that net neutrality is unnecessary for wireless broadband.
In its press release regarding the FCC filing, the CTIA states "Quite simply, we believe that these rules are inappropriate for wireless broadband networks and unnecessary to ensure that wireless consumers continue to enjoy the open Internet. All elements of the wireless ecosystem are flourishing. As Americans continue to adopt mobile broadband at a rapid pace, our members are investing billions of dollars every year to deliver wireless Internet across the country. This is a model that is working for consumers and regulation is not needed."
The Work is Just Begun
The initial period for comments and opinions has ended, but the FCC will now be accepting replies and rebuttals through March 5 before moving forward with trying to establish a net neutrality framework that finds a balance to address all expectations and concerns.
Like many government organizations, the FCC has way more responsibility than power. The organization is saddled with accountability and oversight spanning a range of technologies and industries that make up the communications infrastructure of the United States, but when push comes to shove its authority to actually impose guidelines or restrictions has been questioned.
The backlash against the FCC pursuit of net neutrality rules from Republican politicians and major corporations like Comcast and AT&T seems over the top. The FCC is simply trying to adapt and evolve to fulfill its obligations in a quickly-changing communications landscape.
While FCC chairman Julius Genachowski did issue a draft framework as a starting point, the FCC is not attempting to impose draconian rule over how these entities run their businesses. All parties have been welcomed to suggest ideas, express concerns, and otherwise contribute to the formation of a set of rules that enable the FCC to perform its duties while ensuring fairness for consumers, and a level playing field for providers.