By Sara Jerome - 08/18/10 08:20 PM EDT
Net-neutrality discussions between industry stakeholders resumed Wednesday in Washington, sources confirmed.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is not involved in the talks.
"While we’re not involved in these new discussions, we’re glad that there is ongoing dialogue," said FCC spokeswoman Jen Howard.
The lobbyist-led talks at the Information Technology Industry Council offices include NCTA, Verizon, AT&T and Skype. Microsoft, Cisco, and the Communications Workers of America have joined as well.
The Open Internet Coalition (OIC), which took part in the previous discussions, did not attend. Neither did Google.
"This is an important issue and we support any attempt to move the ball forward," a Google spokesperson said on Wednesday.
OIC includes public interest advocates Free Press and Public Knowledge as well as a long list of Internet companies, such as Google and Facebook.
"Today's meeting is the first in a series of focused discussions, with ITIC serving as facilitator, aimed at developing Internet openness principles that can achieve broad cross-sector support," Dean Garfield, president of ITIC, said in a statement. "Over the last few months, much work has been directed at developing such a solution — including by Google — with significant positive steps forward."
Media Access Project, a net neutrality proponent, panned the development.
"These ‘negotiations’ are illegitimate. They do not involve representatives of people who use the Internet for free expression and commerce, and they lack representation from the infant businesses that depend on an open Internet to build the future Ciscos, Microsofts, and Skypes," said MAP senior vice president Andrew Jay Schwartzman.
Free Press policy counsel Aparna Sridhar said criticism of a net neutrality proposal from Google and Verizon this month demonstrates that the public does not want industry to be the leading voice in net-neutrality policies.
"The uproar over the Verizon-Google deal leaves no room for doubt that the public rejects these secretive negotiations – and so should the FCC," she said.