On Net Neutrality

Note: This brief essay was submitted as an FCC filing in correspondence with proceeding 17-108 "Restoring Internet Freedom."

The Internet exists in our current day as an open platform for information on which any given entity may publish content for consumption. This is the state in which it was initially realized, and the principle on which it has operated in the decades since. The compromise of net neutrality would effectively destroy this facet of the platform, allowing content to be prioritized or deprioritized (or even blocked entirely!) in the name of the bottom line. Internet service providers (ISPs) have demonstrated time and time again a full willingness to engage in non-competitive practices and effective monopolies at the expense of the consumer.

And while the consumer indeed faces yet another threat in this scenario, withdrawal of net neutrality would also serve to adversely affect virtually any entity using the Internet, including so-called "Internet companies," companies providing content or services by utilizing the Internet as a medium. This withdrawal would also introduce the notion of a negotiated "fast lane," which would serve to exploit such companies at their own detriment and at the benefit of ISPs. In the event that an entity cannot buy into this "fast lane," its traffic will effectively be deprioritized and throttled, placing them at an inherent disadvantage and undermining the openness of the platform.

I conclude by emphasizing the deep personal importance of this proceeding to me. I am young enough to have grown up with the Internet and observe an entire medium and culture develop. Its existence as an open medium strikes me as an intrinsic moral necessity. Beyond this aspect, I am also a primarily self-taught computer scientist who has had the fortune to work and develop software for multiple Internet-based companies who would in turn be adversely affected by the repeal of net neutrality. Had these companies not been afforded the level playing field and low barrier to entry that exists in the modern Web, I am not confident these opportunities would still have existed for me.

It would be an absolute tragedy to see net neutrality compromised in the name of deregulation and capitalism. This motion must not be allowed to succeed, not with the damage it would cause to the platform.

If you find yourself in agreement with this essay, I urge you to submit a filing of your own voicing your opinion on the matter. If you want to learn more about the fight for net neutrality, check out this page.

Posted by Max Roncace on July 12, 2017

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