WASHINGTON D.C. — Today, TechFreedom, CARI.net, and leading Internet entrepreneurs Jeff Pulver, Scott Banister, Charles Giancarlo, David Frankel, and Wendell Brown filed a motion seeking leave to intervene in support of US Telecom and the other petitioners asking the court to declare unlawful the Federal Communications Commission’s February Open Internet Order, which reclassified broadband providers as Title II common carriers and imposed net neutrality rules considerably broader than what the FCC initially proposed.

TechFreedom, like many startups, relies on an Open Internet to function,” said Berin Szoka, President of TechFreedom. “The FCC’s blanket ban on paid prioritization will harm us and all other users of cloud-based services, such as Skype, Google Docs, and UStream. Paid prioritization could mitigate latency, jitter and other user experience problems associated especially with VoIP and video live-streaming. But without the ability to pay for such prioritization, these services will be under-supplied by the market, and broadband providers will under-invest in that capability.”

The FCC is commoditizing cloud services, which removes the ability of cloud providers like CARI.net to distinguish themselves in the market,” said Tom Struble, Legal Fellow at TechFreedom. “The Order bars cloud providers from offering differentiated treatment of data to its customers and negotiating better connections and partnerships with broadband providers. The rules eliminate the competitive advantages that cloud providers and their ‘edge’ provider customers could gain from innovative arrangements with broadband providers, and jeopardize their ability to attract investment and customers.”

The FCC is casting aside a long-standing policy that insulated VoIP services from heavy-handed Title II regulation,” continued Szoka. “Vonage co-founder and VoIP pioneer Jeff Pulver spent ten years lobbying the FCC to declare VoIP a Title I information service. In 2004, he finally succeed in getting the FCC to do just that in the ‘Pulver Order.’ This was a landmark decision, given that analog voice telephony is the quintessential Title II service. But buried in the Open Internet Order’s justification for reclassifying wireless services is a single paragraph that effectively revokes the Pulver Order: by equating IP addresses and telephone numbers, the FCC has effectively reclassified VoIP. Indeed, it may just be a matter of time before the FCC explicitly extends Title II to all so-called ‘edge’ services, given that they all rely on IP addresses. This will be a disaster for consumers: Title II has always been a recipe for stagnation.”

The motion for leave to intervene offers a short, accessible summary of how Title II reclassification will harm consumers and providers of Internet services, as well as the entrepreneurs and investors who bring them to market.



We can be reached for comment at media@techfreedom.org. See more of our work on net neutrality and Title II, including:

About TechFreedom:

TechFreedom is a non-profit, non-partisan technology policy think tank. We work to chart a path forward for policymakers towards a bright future where technology enhances freedom, and freedom enhances technology.

About CARI.net:

Founded in 1997, CARI.net is an edge provider offering users “cloud” services based on the Internet, including Infrastructure-as-as-Service (IAAS) and Software-as-a-Service (SAAS). CARI.net also operates managed data centers. In both capacities, it negotiates with broadband providers for interconnection of Internet traffic. For its services, CARI.net relies upon an open and independent Internet, unfettered by burdensome federal oversight and regulation.

About Jeff Pulver:

Jeff Pulver has founded, co-founded, and invested in a number of Internet companies. In 1994, he founded Free World Dialup (“FWD”) as the first worldwide Internet telephony company; in 2001, he co-founded Vonage, among the world’s top VoIP providers. Pulver also has played a significant role in the FCC’s long-standing light-touch approach to Internet regulation; he was the namesake of a significant FCC order in 2004 — declaring VoIP to be a Title I information service — that was nullified by the new Open Internet Order.

About Scott Banister:

Scott Banister was an early pioneer in the email business, founding ListBot, an email list hosting service, in 1998, and selling the company to Microsoft in 2001. Banister has since worked with other start-ups as a board member and investor, including PayPal and eVoice, which offered the first email-enabled home voicemail service and which was acquired by AOL in 2001. In 2000, Banister co-founded IronPort, an email appliance provider that was acquired in 2007 by Cisco for $830 million. Banister is currently a leading “angel” investor to a variety of Silicon Valley startups.

About Charles Giancarlo:

Charles Giancarlo has been involved in the computer and Internet industries for over thirty years. In 2008, Giancarlo co-founded ItsOn, a company that is revolutionizing the delivery of mobile voice, text and data services. ItsOn’s technology allows users to control what apps get access to wireless bandwidth, when they get access, and how much to pay for it. It also allows third parties to “sponsor” bandwidth for specific apps, meaning that data used by that app would not be counted against the user’s monthly data plan.

About David Frankel:

David Frankel is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and engineer focused on VoIP and other cloud-based collaboration services. In 2006, he founded ZipDX and currently serves as its CEO. ZipDX offers special kinds of “virtual meetings,” such as multilingual meetings using simultaneous (human) interpreters. Having delivered this service using both traditional telephony using the Public Switched Telephone Network (“PSTN”) and VoIP, Frankel has first-hand experience in operating both under Title II and Title I (thanks to the Pulver Order), and the corresponding differences in both regulatory burdens and taxation at the federal and state level.

About Wendell Brown:

Wendell Brown is a pioneering innovator of VoIP technology, having founded multiple successful VoIP companies including eVoice, Teleo, and LiveOps. Brown strongly believes his many inventions in VoIP and the resulting benefits to the US economy are directly due to the unregulated independence he has enjoyed to innovate freely on the Internet, and that the FCC’s Open Internet Order threatens to replace that independence with regulatory oversight that will stifle innovation.