Target: Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, John Boehner
Goal: Ensure that users’ access to information on the Internet remains unaffected by companies’ ability to pay for quicker connection speeds
The advent of the Internet marked the beginning of an era where anyone, regardless of wealth, skin color, age etc. could in theory access an infinite supply of information. Of course access to the Internet is still prone to barriers; for instance the World Bank reports that you are up to 10 times less likely to have access to a computer in a developing country like Eritrea than in the United States. However the potential for equal access to information is there–and it is threatened by companies seeking to increase profits.
Large internet service providers are fighting to end this equal access to information by offering faster access to consumers for companies willing to pay for it. Congress is currently sitting on a bill that would require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to ban such “fast lane” practices, which clearly violate of the principles of net neutrality.
Proponents of net neutrality support the notion that all content on the Internet deserves equal treatment. That is, Internet service providers should not be allowed to selectively promote some content while restricting the ability of consumers to quickly download and view other content. According to a poll conducted on Consumerist.com, a majority of the U.S. population support net neutrality. Along with them tech companies ranging from giants like Google to tiny start-ups recognize the perils of neglecting its principles. As the tech website SFGate reports, “abolishing net neutrality would make it more difficult for disruptive companies to challenge entrenched competitors… [and] the change would create a two-tiered Internet with a fast lane for those who can pay more and a slow lane for everyone else.”
Join concerned Americans in their plea for net neutrality and thereby for an assurance of free content and free speech on the Internet. Urge members of Congress to keep the Internet a fair and free place where information can be exchanged without discriminatory privilege. Call on lawmakers to ban paid prioritization.
Dear Representative Boehner,
In a letter to the House Judiciary Committe, members of the Consumers Union wrote, “With the Internet becoming ever-more central to American life, it is essential that we not devolve into a two-tiered society where some get special preference over others.” Measures are necessary to ensure that net neutrality and freedom of information flow are upheld.
The Internet is currently a place for opportunity. For instance, start-up companies may receive funding by crowd-sourcing, a technique which has never been more accessible to diverse individuals. An end to net neutrality could mean an end to this venue for young companies to fundraise and spread the word about their goods and services. Essentially, an end to net neutrality could thwart the voices of any underdogs in the market, media and the arts, leading to an increase in power for already-powerful large companies.
I urge you to consider how such “fast lane” access to content for large companies would affect innovation and the lives of average Americans. Please use your sway in the House to rally others to ban internet paid prioritization and protect net neutrality.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: M3Li55@ via Flickr