This article is a continuation from last week’s post A Question of Titles, covering the regulatory history of net neutrality in the United States.
This is the web we want.
Net neutrality is core to the web’s mission to make the exchange of information between people easier and faster no matter how each user connects. From the need to make different computers speak the same language on an easy interface, the World Wide Web has become a fundamental part of everyday life for billions of people. The web we want continues that history as our future.
The web we want is open for everyone. Internet access providers and lobbyists have attempted to sideline Title II has a radical intervention from the past two years when, in truth, Title II protections were part of what made the web’s explosive growth in the 1990s possible. By ensuring that companies had to treat all data equally, web users can browse, consume, and create content that is shared across the globe no matter the resource base of its origin. The web we want is open for everyone to participate not just as consumers and not just within pre-selected ‘walled gardens’ of content but to the whole of the World Wide Web.
The web we want is free from influence. It allows web users to choose their content freely without influence from their IAP. No web user should be the voiceless third party to a negotiated deal for paid prioritization or penalized throttling. Pricing should be transparent and affordable, and consumers should be free to change between IAPs rather than settle for survival under monopolized conditions. A free market requires some basic policy regulations to ensure competition.
The web we want is fair to all. It allows small and start-up content providers and services to compete on a fair playing field with established companies and brands to truly allow the content on the web to remain innovative, inspiring, and dynamic. It encourages the freedom of expression and supports transparency with citizen journalism and blogging platforms. Without a guarantee of network neutrality, paid prioritization will close down the diversity of voices that has been so fundamental to the web’s development and its reputation.
This is the web we want, and this is the web that we must protect.
If you love the web, protect the web.
Established interests who have fought network neutrality for decades are now betting that web users will have shorter memories than them. They have been carefully re-crafting the history of web away from its origins to fit with the romanticized, regulation-free myth that mandates the public interest. It’s a whimsical world where voluntary principles have enforcement power. It’s a fairy tale that wipes away at the long, contested fight to ensure that the web we want is the web we have.
Some FCC commissioners may have already made up their minds, but we are not going to stay silent observers. We will build the public record that network neutrality is widely supported by us all and deeply important to preserving the web as we know it. If two Commissioners this year want to vote against net neutrality, let them know that we’ll work next year and beyond to restore what they’re trying to destroy. Make your comments part of the public record about net neutrality and write to the Federal Communications Commission using the EFF’s tool, DearFCC.org.