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Comment to the FCC in support of Net Neutrality.

(This is what I wrote in the comment I just sent to the FCC from battleforthenet.com [1]. Please consider submitting your own comment!)

Net neutrality is absolutely necessary if the Internet is to continue to serve the broadest public interest. The principle that ISPs must treat all data equally is easy to articulate, easy for users of the Internet to understand, and easy for regulatory agencies such as the FCC to enforce. This simple principle should be fully protected by the FCC, under its Title II authority.

The Internet is not just another tool. It is rather the environment within which millions of creative people build new tools, exchange knowledge, and organize themselves in ways formerly only available to large, centrally controlled organizations — such as the monopoly-based music- and video-streaming companies who would love the opportunity to use their size to arrange preferential-treatment deals with ISPs and effectively force smaller competitors and other alternatives offline.

This dystopian dynamic is perfectly predictable, and perfectly stoppable. The FCC should reclassify ISPs as common carriers under Title II, and use all necessary provisions thereof to ensure that the Internet remains the platform for democratic organizing and decentralized innovation that it has been so far.

On an Internet clogged with prioritized traffic belonging to the highest bidders, there is no way my own young company would ever have been able to succeed. I watch with alarm the growing pressure from larger competitors to reformulate the Internet to treat their traffic differently from ours, and wonder how we — or the many other new companies in our position — could possibly continue on an Internet run by giants for giants.

Please don’t let that happen. Use Title II reclassification to fully and fairly protect traffic neutrality on the Internet. This is one of the few cases where a well-defined, targeted government regulation would unambiguously support both democratic ideals and a fertile environment for the growth of innovative businesses. Those who argue otherwise are trying to sell us something — and trying to have the market to themselves while they do it.

Sincerely,
-Karl Fogel
 Partner, Open Tech Strategies, LLC [2]