Because the Internet plays such a critical role in our lives, the idea of a free and open Internet became a flash point for Americans to send millions of comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). That same sentiment courses through the technology industry. Many of our companies could have never been founded, never thrived, nor had the significant impact of improving our society and growing our economy, without the level playing field and independence that comes from a free and open Internet.
As ITI said in July, we believe free and open Internet rules can be achieved in a balanced way, providing strong protections for consumers, competition, and fueling the awe-inspiring cycle of innovation that the Internet has driven over the past two decades. As Internet use and demand grows, the innovations that come with that growth will also rely on upgraded networks and increased capacity in order to carry vast amounts of data faster and more reliably.
Today’s FCC actions unquestionably mark the most significant steps ever taken in the history of the net neutrality debate. The full text of the FCC’s decision has not yet been made public, but when it is made public, we will evaluate whether and how today’s action achieved that balance.
From what has been made public so far, the scope of the order appears to go beyond the public outcry to ensure Internet users and content are not discriminated against (often referred to as “the last mile”). We are concerned by reports that the order also touches on how the wholesale broadband market works, specifically the established relationships between businesses deep in the network that make the Internet function more effectively.
As sure as today’s vote was historic, this debate is sure to continue. As lawmakers also examine this decision, we urge them to move towards bipartisanship on any efforts to codify the strong sentiments expressed for net neutrality.
ITI stands ready to find a solution that achieves what everyone agrees should be achieved: protecting a free and open Internet.