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Mozilla takes lead in new push for FCC to 'reinstate net neutrality'

The Firefox-maker has partnered with ADT, Dropbox, Reddit and Wikimedia to push for new net neutrality rules from the federal regulator.

Angela Lang/CNET

Firefox-maker Mozilla is leading the charge to get the Federal Communications Commission to "restore net neutrality at the federal level." In a blog post on Friday, the company announced that it is working with other online firms, including ADT, Dropbox, Eventbrite, Reddit, Vimeo and Wikimedia, to get the agency to "reinstate net neutrality as a matter of urgency."

"The need for net neutrality protections has become even more apparent during the pandemic," Amy Keating, Mozilla's chief legal officer, writes in the post. "In a moment where classrooms and offices have moved online by necessity, it is critically important to have rules paired with strong government oversight and enforcement to protect families and businesses from predatory practices."

Net neutrality is the idea that all data on the internet should be treated equally and that the internet service providers should not be allowed to favor websites or services by providing faster or special access to some over others. It also precludes ISPs like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T from providing faster access to their own content than those from competitors.  

The post accompanies a letter from the companies to acting FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel that adds that net neutrality "simply preserves the environment that has allowed the internet to become an engine for economic growth" and prevents ISPs from "blocking, throttling, or prioritizing traffic for payment."

The letter and post come as California's new net neutrality law has come into effect. The law, which was opposed by broadband groups but approved in February by a federal judge, is considered stricter than the federal rules on prioritizing internet traffic that was created during the Obama administration. 

The new law led to AT&T announcing this week that it would end its "sponsored data" program in the state. The program allowed those with AT&T wireless service to stream DirecTV, AT&T TV and HBO and not have them count against monthly tiered data caps, unlike similar streams from YouTube or Netflix. 

As part of its new rules, California blocked this idea of "zero-rating" that allowed AT&T to exempt its own services from the data caps.