In the past year, the Internet has become a place where strong opinions clash. Yet there’s one priority that should matter to both sides: the health of the platform on which these debates take place.
The free and open Internet is under attack again by opponents of net neutrality. Whether your political tastes are right, left, or center, net neutrality is the closest thing to a guarantee your voice won’t be drowned out by someone else’s agenda.
Established producers of content have little interest in exploring innovative, participatory media. Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton famously claimed that “nothing good has come from the Internet, period.” In this attempt to cripple the Internet to protect outdated business models, the tradeoff just isn’t worth it.
The principle of net neutrality has guided the Internet since its infancy, and there is no question that it is the single biggest reason for the phenomenal growth of creative, scientific, and economic activity online.
To allow Internet Service Providers to negotiate faster access for companies like Sony or Walmart would be like allowing the Federal Highway Administration to charge BMW drivers smaller tolls in return for kickbacks. Thankfully, our country’s roads were built in a vehicle-neutral way, and as a result they have been flexible enough to serve horse carriages, Model Ts, and Priuses. To charge higher rates for some forms of traffic and not others would be to stifle technological innovations of the future.
The Internet, like the highway, is a public good that should be provided equally to all, not preferentially to the rich and powerful. Net neutrality is the only way to safeguard its promise of innovation and prosperity for our future. Show your support by telling the FCC you support an open Web.