Apple is finally weighing in on the debate over the future of the Internet.
The tech giant called on the Federal Communications Commission to “retain strong, enforceable open internet protections” in a public comment on the proposal to overhaul net neutrality protections.
“We work hard to build great products, and what consumers do with those tools is up to them — not Apple, and not broadband providers,” Cynthia Hogan, VP of public policy at Apple, said in a comment filed to the FCC.
The FCC voted in May to move forward with a proposal to roll back net neutrality protections put in place during the Obama administration. The rules are intended to prevent Internet providers from speeding up or slowing down traffic from specific websites.
Apple’s response was filed as part of a public commenting period on the proposal. The deadline for comments was Wednesday.
Apple (Tech30) highlighted the need for a continued ban on “fast lanes,” a term for Internet providers picking favorites by deliberately speeding up or slowing down traffic from specific online services. ,
Otherwise, Apple warns, “it could allow a broadband provider, not the consumer, to pick internet winners and losers, based on a broadband provider’s priorities rather than the quality of the service.”
Apple appeared to diverge from some net neutrality advocates on at least one key point: leaving the door slightly open to other enforcement options.
As part of the 2015 net neutrality process, the FCC voted to assert more regulatory control over Internet providers by reclassifying them as common carriers, similar to telephone services.
Ajit Pai, the FCC chairman appointed by President Trump, wants to repeal that reclassification. Net neutrality advocates say that renders any protections toothless.
In its comment, Apple said it “remains open to alternative sources of legal authority, but only if they provide for strong, enforceable, and legally sustainable protections, like those in place today.”
Apple has been notably silent his year on the net neutrality issue.
Dozens of tech companies staged an online protest last month to preserve net neutrality. The list included Facebook (Tech30), , Google (Tech30), , Amazon (Tech30) and , Netflix (Tech30) — but not Apple. ,