Wednesday, May 21, 2014

An open letter to the FCC

I sent this letter to the FCC's public commentary mailbox; I'm posting it here in the spirit of openness.

The Age of the Internet has brought untold benefits, innovation, and prosperity. Such benefits are possible because there has always been a sort of "gentlemen's agreement" that the ISPs are neutral when it comes to who is sending data to them.

Data from a tiny startup is treated the same as data from giants like Microsoft. People providing services using the Internet pay their providers for the Internet service they need, and subscribers do likewise.

However, large ISPs want an end to this 'Net Neutrality.  Not content with record profits from large and small providers alike, these ISPs want to charge *again* for "fast lane" access to the homes and offices of their subscribers. Businesses will pass these increased costs to consumers, and small organizations will have find themselves with greatly increased barriers to serving their potential customers.

Our lack of effective last-mile provider competition has already made the US struggle to compete with Europe and Asia; allowing ISPs to dispense with network neutrality will only pump their profits--without significant benefit to consumers, and with harm to small innovators.

The FCC should be acting to preserve network neutrality, thus continuing to protect the fertile environment for Internet innovation. Instead, the chairman is proposing rules that will undermine it.

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