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Apple defended net neutrality in an FCC letter. Getty

In a letter to the Federal Communications Commission, Apple urged the FCC to preserve current policies around net neutrality.

Apple emphasized five specific areas around net neutrality policy in its comments. First, Apple wants the FCC to ensure that broadband providers won’t unevenly throttle traffic between users and content providers. Secondly, the company also wants to ensure that providers won’t be able to prioritize specific companies or services over their networks. Citing the current ban on “paid prioritization arrangements,” Apple argues that these protections keep the internet on equal footing for all users.

“Paid fast lanes could replace today’s content-neutral transmission of internet traffic with differential treatment of content based on an online providers’ ability or willingness to pay,” Apple said. “The result would be an internet with distorted competition where online providers are driven to reach deals with broadband providers or risk being stuck in the slow lane and losing customers due to lower quality service.”

Elsewhere, Apple argues that current net neutrality policies should encourage competition and transparency among tech companies and network providers. Specifically, Apple wants providers to be clear about the traffic performance and management that subscribers can experience on their networks.

In addition, Apple also highlights the lack of options for most U.S. broadband users and points out that 57 percent of Americans in areas with access to high-speed broadband only have one provider to choose from.

“Many consumers cannot switch providers even if they learn that their broadband provider interferes with the internet’s openness in a way that they oppose,” Apple said. “Absent a meaningful choice of providers, consumers cannot make their voices heard through their market choices.”

Finally, Apple emphasizes the upside of the open internet for innovation, highlighting how new services and applications for consumers can encourage providers to improve their offerings to meet this increased demand.

The comments, which are Apple’s first significant response to net neutrality this year, come amid high scrutiny towards the FCC and Chairman Ajit Pai. Since taking over the FCC earlier this year, Pai has been widely expected to roll back existing net neutrality protections enacted by predecessor Tom Wheeler. Pai has argued that current net neutrality policy, which considers broadband providers to be comparable to public utilities, is outdated and restricts these companies.

Tech companies and net neutrality supporters have made a push against the FCC and launched the Day Of Protest event in July to bring awareness to the issue. The potential of a shift in net neutrality enforcement has also brought additional scrutiny to network changes from carriers. Earlier this month, Verizon also rolled out new network changes that would throttle streaming video performance from mobile users depending on their payment tier. Verizon said that the policy follows existing net neutrality protections, because it’s uniformly applied towards all users, but net neutrality supporters have argued that similar policies could become common if net neutrality is rolled back entirely.

While Apple has traditionally been a hardware company, it has recently entered new markets that could be affected by changes in net neutrality policy. Apple Music is one of the remaining major players in the music streaming space and faces off against competitors like Spotify and the Sprint-partnered Tidal. The company has also invested heavily in original video content that could be affected by formalized “fast lane” policies.