New net neutrality coalition gets first lobbyists

A brand-new business coalition pushing the Federal Communications Commission to ban “fast lanes” online has already hired its first lobbyists.

The Internet Freedom Business Alliance, which was formally launched Thursday, has hired the Jochum Shore & Trossevin PC law firm, according to federal disclosure documents.

The firm’s team includes a number of former Capitol Hill and Commerce Department staffers.

According to the federal filing, the lobbyists will be focused on “advocacy for rules and legislation that preserve net neutrality,” the notion that Internet service companies should not be able to slow or block people’s access to particular websites.

The Internet Freedom Business Alliance is being led by former Rep. Chip Pickering (R-Miss.) and is made up of a number of Internet companies including Tumblr, Reddit and Etsy as well as realtors.

The organization is focused on targeting the business community and conservatives in support of tough FCC rules on Web service providers. Many of the companies have urged the agency to turn to the legal authority it uses to regulate traditional phone lines, though Internet service providers and many Republicans have rejected that notion.

— Megan Wilson contributed