I think that new FCC proposal for “Restoring Internet Freedom” would completely destroy the internet. Should this proposal go any further, the internet will no longer be recognizable within a very short amount of time. I’m worried that I will no longer have a place on the internet because my internet activity and work isn’t designed to invade people’s homes and privacy to sell them things they don’t need. Non-profits on the internet are dead.

This proposal is entirely rent-seeking by big ISPs. ISPs will make more money without providing any additional service for users, and the FCC would be enabling it all.

Big Disclaimer

This is a post where I feel it is important to make absolutely clear that my views are my own and do not represent the views of my employer(s past or present)

My comments to the FCC

The FCC has opened their proposal to public comment and I encourage you to do so.

Here’s what I wrote:

I am a Colorado resident and I’ve worked as an internet engineer for my entire professional career (small disclaimer that my views are my own and do not represent those of my employer), and I’m worried that new FCC rules may allow large ISPs to destroy the internet.

The current state of the internet is possible because ISPs aren’t selling tiers of websites to their users. If we create internet fast-lanes, then we create a tiered internet. This is currently the way cable channels already work: if you just want CNN and ESPN you can pay one amount, but if you want HBO you pay a little more. The problem is that the internet is constantly in flux, there are constantly new websites being built. This is a major driver of economic growth and is good for everyone who uses the internet.

If you start offering internet fast-lanes, internet tiers become possible: if you just want Facebook and Google then you pay one amount, but if you want Wikipedia you pay a little more. Ipso facto, Wikipedia is unavailable to a portion of the internet population.

There may be those who make the argument that this is how the free market works: if Wikipedia were good, people would be willing to pay more for it; however, this artificial choice between Google and Wikipedia is only made possible by a perversion of the design of the internet. Bits of information are bits of information, an ISP is arguing that websites should pay more while it offers the same service. ISPs want Netflix to pay more than Google for them to move 100 bytes from the internet backbone to your house. Moving 100 bytes from the backbone to someone’s house, the so-called “last mile”, is same amount of work whether those bytes are from Google or Netflix so why should Netflix have to pay more?

Meanwhile, large ISPs that move bits from the internet backbone over the “last mile” do not compete with one another by means of designed but unspoken collusion. The suggestion that an internet user should have to choose between Google and my blog is being made by companies that make all of their money by rent-seeking and now demand more money for less service. Consumers are not being protected, only ISP shareholders are.

This proposal has the net-effect of censoring the internet so that only websites that have enough money to pay protection fees to ISPs will be available to people. This proposal is censorship that stifles freedom and innovation and will destroy the internet.

/me drops mic.