Home News Ending Net Neutrality will bring an end to the Internet as we know it said by Steve Wozniak

Ending Net Neutrality will bring an end to the Internet as we know it said by Steve Wozniak

by Harikrishna Mekala

It is a stirring symbol of democracy in action. With the Internet’s future as a floor for innovation and democratic discussion on the line, a coalition of grassroots and diverse crowds joined with technology firms to contend that the FCC maintain its 2015 open internet “net neutrality” rules.

The inventor of the Apple personal computer, and the other a former commissioner at the FCC. We come from different walks of life, but each of us acknowledges that the FCC is considering action that could end the internet as we know it a dynamic stage for entrepreneurship, jobs, education, and free expression. Will customers and citizens control their online experiences, or will a few gigantic guards take this dynamic technology down the road of centralized control, toll boxes and constantly rising prices for consumers? At stake are the nature of the internet and its mass to transform our lives even more than it already has.

If Pai’s majority allows fast lanes for the biggest internet service providers ISPs like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T, organizations could speed up or slow down the sites and services they prefer. That’ll be excellent for their business affiliates and corporate friends, but woe to the startup that needs to build the next great web service it could find itself in the delayed lane, unable to compete with stabilized firms. And pity the local blogger who reprimands her ISP’s crummy service the broadband gatekeeper would be free to slow or quiet her.

Like most issues of telecom arcana, net neutrality can be extremely technical. But beneath the jargon is a simple principle: Broadband customers should have access to lawful content without ISP interference. That means no restriction or fast lanes.

Fast lanes or “paid prioritization” create anticompetitive incentives for ISPs to promote their own services over those of their competitors. While Pai thinks paid prioritization would somehow profit consumers, allowing ISPs to make such adjustments would stifle innovation online and make it stronger for the next great streaming service or social network to reach the market. This is not an idle concern. In a filing with the FCC, AT&T called popular concern over fast lanes “baseless.”

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