A few months ago, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced plans to roll back net neutrality protections that were implemented in 2015. The proposed changes do two things: (1) reclassify internet providers as “information services” under Title I of the Telecom Act; and (2) remove some or all of the existing rules prohibiting ISPs from blocking, throttling, or prioritizing paid traffic.
As the world’s leading independent advertising company, we know firsthand that net neutrality is essential to an online environment in which no company or oligarchy of companies controls the distribution of content and information, nor the monetization of it.
The FCC’s reforms would allow the creation of a two-tiered internet, harming the goodwill and level playing field necessary to sustain smaller businesses and startups as they compete with larger, more established companies. As a direct effect, a large portion of the internet’s creative content – great journalism, film, music, information, and games – that consumers enjoy free of charge, will simply dry up.
We therefore urge the FCC to sustain the existing, strong net neutrality rules, based on Title II of the Communications Act. It is not apparent or proven that less regulation will foster a more robust internet economy; instead, it may damage the level playing field essential to encouraging innovation, competition, and consumer choice. The FCC ought to maintain bright line rules against blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization – whether on fixed or mobile connections – as well as ongoing oversight of other types of discrimination.
The internet is something that connects, unites, and sustains our world in a way that’s without parallel in history. So as multitudes of companies speak out in favor of net neutrality and the need to maintain an internet that’s open, free, and of equal speed and quality to all competitors, we hope the FCC listens.
We encourage everyone to visit the Internet Association’s dedicated website, to leave your comments in support of net neutrality. It’s that important.