Reply Comments In the Matter of Safeguarding and Securing the Open Internet

Publication Type: 
Regulatory Filing
Publication Date: 
January 17, 2024
I welcome the opportunity to submit reply comments to this proceeding.
I submit my comments as a professor of law and, by courtesy, electrical engineering at Stanford University whose research focuses on Internet architecture, innovation, and regulation. I have a Ph.D. in computer science and a law degree and have worked on net neutrality for the past 23 years.
I have not been retained or paid by anyone to participate in this proceeding, and I speak only for myself.
I would welcome the opportunity to discuss these important issues further.
Specialized services or Non-BIAS data services
The current proposal seems to allow ISPs to offer paid fast lanes to regular internet apps and services under the guise of “specialized services.”
The FCC’s proposed Open Internet rules ban ISPs from charging applications for a fast lane to the ISPs’ customers. But the Open Internet rules generally do not apply to so-called “specialized services” or “Non-BIAS data services” that are offered over the same last-mile connection as broadband internet access. That’s important: it allows applications to emerge that would not be able to function on the open internet because they need special treatment that the open internet cannot provide.
However, ISPs want to use the specialized services label to offer fast lanes to any application, not just to those that can’t function without it. The current proposal seems to allow that, turning it into a giant loophole.
The FCC needs to restore the nuanced framework for specialized services in the 2010 and 2015 Open Internet Orders and take additional steps to close that loophole.