Updated March 24 at 12:29am

Full Channel Labs says it supports net neutrality after FCC vote

By Lori Stabile
PBN Web Editor
Twitter: @loristabile

After the Federal Communications Commission’s historic vote on Thursday to classify the Internet as a public utility, Levi C. Maaia, president of Full Channel Labs, said the family-owned company has always supported net neutrality.

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Full Channel Labs says it supports net neutrality after FCC vote

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WARREN – After the Federal Communications Commission’s historic vote on Thursday to classify the Internet as a public utility, Levi C. Maaia, president of Full Channel Labs, said the family-owned company has always supported net neutrality.

Maaia, whose company serves Barrington, Bristol and Warren and is the only independent broadband provider in Rhode Island, said Full Channel Labs has operated under the FCC’s previous open Internet order of 2010, even after it was struck down in court, and outlines its stance on its website.

A letter about Full Channel Labs’ position on the issue is being sent to customers this week, Maaia said.

“Here at Full Channel it is business as usual,” the letter reads. “Basically we’ve always had net neutrality since the beginning of this fascinating global network we call the Internet.”

Maaia wrote that it appears there are no plans to impose additional taxes on Internet service – at least for now – and “that the FCC will not be so much telling netizens what they cannot do (i.e. censoring the Internet in the same way that radio and TV are censored) but enforcing restrictions on what ISPs can do to censor free speech and access on their networks.”

The new classification, which lumps Internet providers with those that deliver electricity or telephone service, means that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and that they cannot block products or websites. Some larger broadband companies wanted to begin charging fees to content providers such as Netflix and YouTube for better access to their customers to recover expenses of providing bandwidth for streaming video.

As a result, not all broadband companies share the same view as Full Channel Labs regarding net neutrality.

Verizon released a statement dated “Feb. 26, 1934,” saying the “FCC’s ‘Throwback Thursday’ move” imposed 1930s style rules on the Internet and represent a “net loss” for innovation and customers.

The statement was even sent in in a blurry typeface that appeared to have been made by a popular 1930s gadget – the typewriter.

Michael E. Glover, Verizon’s senior vice president, public policy and government affairs, called the decision a “radical step that presages a time of uncertainty for consumers, innovators and investors.” The company said the decision imposes rules “written in the era of the steam engine and telegraph.”

“The FCC had targeted tools available to preserve an open Internet, but instead chose to use this order as an excuse to adopt 300-plus pages of broad and open-ended regulatory arcana that will have unintended negative consequences for consumers and various parts of the Internet ecosystem for years to come,” Glover wrote.

Cox Communications also weighed in. Jay Allbaugh, senior vice president and region manager, Cox Northeast, said Cox is disappointed with the decision, calling it a “risk to the Internet, which has been an ever increasing robust engine of commerce, communications and learning since its creation.”

“The adoption of Title II regulations leaves open the distinct possibility of new taxes and increased costs for consumers. The FCC decision is sure to be challenged in court causing a great deal of uncertainty that will have an impact on future investments and innovation,” Allbaugh said.

“To be clear, Cox fully supports the net neutrality principles of no blocking, nondiscrimination and transparency. We have abided by the original net neutrality rules even after they were overturned by the court,” Allbaugh continued.

He said that the company’s commitment to broadband in the “light” regulatory environment allowed Cox to be an innovator and to invest in its broadband network “to the tune of more than $15 billion in the last 10 years.”

AT&T also has come out against net neutrality. However, Sprint has said it supports it.

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