Tom Wheeler’s support for an open and free Internet today is a sorely needed and extremely positive thing for our country and our future in several ways:
First, there’s a big confusion between FCC / Government regulation and reclassifying the Internet under Title II as a public utility. The Government is not regulating our Internet, rather, as Mr. Wheeler himself writes, “These enforceable, bright-line rules will ban paid prioritization, and the blocking and throttling of lawful content and services.”
It essentially protects the free speech and open access we enjoy online right this second.
The counter arguments — such as letting competition between ISPs sort all of this out — lack some knowledge of the physical infrastructure. The incumbents have more of it and are more powerful, and competition amongst a duopoly or even a monopoly in many regions, does not exist. So there goes that.
Second, the US is ranked 12th in the world for Internet speed, averaging 11.5 mbps (source: http://www.akamai.com/stateoftheinternet/). Just a few days ago, Wheeler acted again on behalf of Internet users and announced that broadband is now defined as 25mpbs down, 3mbps up. The ISPs do not have an economic incentive to overhaul or upgrade their physical infrastructure to make our broadband faster.
We as a country do have huge economic incentives to get up to speed. Broadband is the infrastructure of the Information Era, and we use it to make and move our products. We can’t do this effectively on small congested pipes.
We have a government for exactly these kinds of things — to protect the best interests of the people over the commercial interests of the corporations — and that is just what Tom Wheeler proposes for the FCC to do.
The Internet is no longer a luxury. It is a necessity, like water and electricity — could you function, realistically, for more than 3 days without it? We depend on the Internet for our personal lives and our economy is inextricably bound to it, it is in our best interest to see some enforceable protections.
Verizon did not give an accurate answer for their part in throttling Netflix’s traffic, why should we entrust them and other large ISPs with our freedom?
Some of the constitutional rights that we as a nation are so proud of, like freedom of speech, should be extended to the digital realm and be protected by our government. This nation was founded with these core concepts and we did not entrust corporations to uphold those civil liberties then, nor should we do so now.
The fact that we can all comment on this, without censorship is proof of a free and open Internet. Let it stay that way.