July 12: I support #NetNeutrality

The Internet is a public resource

The United States’ Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has plans to put an end to the era of Net Neutrality. The idea is to allow Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to discriminate against different types of users or content, in order to allocate bandwidth where they consider it necessary.

This is particularly dangerous. ISPs will be in a position to effectively rig the entirety of communication and exchange to suit their agenda. Consumers who do not qualify as ‘worthy enough’ will have to make do with a slower and smaller Internet, as resources are allocated towards those favoured by the ISPs. You would want to visit, for example, this website only to be notified that it is outside your current data plan.

Net Neutrality is the prerequisite for a free [digital] market. Any person or company, no matter their status or available resources can access the Internet on equal terms. They cannot be discriminated against, nor be denied access to areas of the Internet deemed ‘exclusive’, items of luxury. Innovation, creativity, and pluralism rest on Net Neutrality. Otherwise established forces will use their ‘insider’ capacity to kill any sort of competition and entrench their dominant market position.

This is not just about competition policy and economics. If ISPs have the power to discriminate, then they can effectively censor people or prevent access to opinions they disagree with. For instance, ISPs could try to silence those who are in favour of Net Neutrality.

This cannot be allowed to pass. The FCC must discard any plan at abolishing Net Neutrality. All Internet users should join forces against this misguided agenda.

If you are an American citizen, it is your duty to your country and the Internet at large to take action. Visit battleforthenet.com to learn more about how you can do your part.

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Protesilaos Stavrou

EU policy analyst. Philosopher. Web developer.
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