Mozilla said in a petition filed with the FCC.
"Last-mile, terminating access Internet routing is currently understood to include one type of commercial relationship: between an ISP and an end user, connecting the end user to all Internet sites," Riley wrote in his blog post. "We are challenging that understanding and proposing a modernization."
The FCC should recognize that "technological evolution has led to two distinct relationships in the last mile of the network: the current one, between an ISP and an end user, which is unchanged, plus a 'remote delivery' service offered by an ISP to an edge provider, connecting the provider to all of the ISP's end users," he added.
Free-market advocates dismissed Mozilla's proposal, saying the FCC should not regress to the old telephone-style regulatory model.
Congress and the FCC have already rejected regulation of Internet transit, said Larry Downes, a tech policy-focused author and former tech law professor. The FCC, in its 2010 net neutrality order, "explicitly and sensibly excluded peering, transit, and anything else having to do with the back-end of the Internet," he said by email. "Congress gave the FCC no authority here, and for good reason."
Telephone-style regulations are an "historic anomaly, written for a time when a single approved monopoly provider handled interconnection of voice traffic," he added. "Under the government's watchful eye, regulated Title II service has been unable to justify a business case for continued investment and innovation; it is dying, having largely been replaced by VoIP and other Internet-based voice services that are better and cheaper."
While the Mozilla petition asks the FCC to forbear from some telephone-style regulations, it doesn't define which ones the agency should avoid enforcing, added Berin Szoka, president of free-market think tank TechFreedom. An open question on which telephone-style regulations would be enforced would likely discourage broadband investment, he said.
Mozilla's proposal is just a first step, Riley said, and regulatory forbearance questions would have to be debated.
Net neutrality regulations are in effect in parts of Europe and Latin America, "and I don't see their broadband investments falling off a cliff," he added.
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