Verizon claimed Internet fast lanes will help deaf, blind, and disabled.
by Jon Brodkin
July 22 2014
No company has lobbied more fiercely against network neutrality than Verizon, which filed the lawsuit that overturned the FCC’s rules prohibiting ISPs from blocking and discriminating against Web content. But the absence of net neutrality rules isn’t just good for Verizon—it’s also good for the blind, deaf, and disabled, Verizon claims.
That’s what Verizon lobbyists said in talks with congressional staffers, according to a Mother Jones report last month. “Three Hill sources tell Mother Jones that Verizon lobbyists have cited the needs of blind, deaf, and disabled people to try to convince congressional staffers and their bosses to get on board with the fast lane idea,” the report said. With “fast lanes,” Web services—including those designed for the blind, deaf, and disabled—could be prioritized in exchange for payment.
Now, advocacy groups for deaf people have filed comments with the FCC saying they don’t agree with Verizon’s position.
“We also take this opportunity to express our concern over the reported contentions of at least one broadband provider that the Commission should facilitate ‘fast lanes’—essentially permitting paid prioritization—for the sake of accessibility,” the groups wrote . . .