Eric Klinker: The Future Of The Internet Belongs to Everyone

In a world where Internet access is fundamental to enterprise and invention, to bias traffic is to effectively end innovation.

At BitTorrent, we’ve been a central figure in the defense of an open Internet from the earliest moments of the Net Neutrality debate. We’ve always taken a strong stance and firmly believe an open Internet is worth fighting for.

We helped solve the issue for the ISPs during the first round of this argument with the implementation of uTP, which relieved heavy bandwidth usage during peak hours. Most recently we were among the first to strongly state that leaving an open Internet unprotected would have dire consequences.

With the FCC codifying the ability for ISPs to discriminate against Internet traffic and implement a pay-for-play Fast Lane, our worst fears may come true. That is why we have published an open letter to the FCC at internetbetter.com. The letter outlines our thoughts on the proposed changes to Net Neutrality. As we’ve stated in the past, these changes will harm innovation, free speech, and user-choice.

To help paint a picture of what the new reality for the Internet might look like, we also created jointhefastlane.com which gives a satirical peek at a future without Net Neutrality. At least we hope it’s satirical; as many have commented in the past few weeks, the proposition is all too real.

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This is an important moment in the history of the Internet. Collectively, we are the ones who get to decide what the next 20 years of the Internet will look like. Take a close look at internetbetter.com and jointhefastlane.com and take this opportunity to make your voices heard. We also posted a copy of our letter below:

 

The open Internet facilitated a rapid expansion of new innovations. For over two decades it fueled unprecedented economic and creative growth. It served as a platform for the free exchange of information and ideas. It allowed companies such as ourselves to challenge the status-quo and introduce new technologies directly to the world. It served as a democratic medium that did not discriminate. It was the final frontier that provided everyone with an equal opportunity for success.

Today, we face a future in which the open Internet could be shut down. The FCC’s proposed changes to Net Neutrality would create a preferential fast lane for designated traffic. Those with the deep pockets to pay for this fast lane will have the ability to access and distribute content at higher speeds. Those who lack the purchasing power will be disadvantaged. This moves us towards an Internet of discrimination.

In a world where we speak in shared photos and video streams, to bias traffic is to bar free speech. In a world where Internet access is fundamental to enterprise and invention, to bias traffic is to effectively end innovation.

The stakes are this high.

A fast lane marks the end of consumer choice. We will no longer be able to decide how we want to use the Internet. Instead the chasm between fast and slow content will continue to grow until we are are forced towards a curated internet that is devoid of diversity.

An open Internet is worth protecting. We are at a crossroads, and the decisions made in the upcoming months will set a precedent for decades to come. We want to be on the right side of history. We want our children and our grandchildren to have the same opportunities we have been afforded.

Now is the time to take action. This is the generation that will decide if tomorrow’s Internet will be a platform for freedom and opportunity, or a tool for control and monetization. Check out the resources below and make your voices heard.

An open Internet is worth fighting for.

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The FCC has asked us to weigh in on the proposed changes to Net Neutrality. Write a personal note and let them know we should fight to keep an open Internet. DearFCC.org helps walk you through the process.
Contact the FCC

Call or write your local Congress representative. Be polite. Tell them that the future of innovation requires an open Internet. Ask them to take a stand against any proposal that introduces a ‘fastlane.’
Contact Congress

 By Eric Klinker, BitTorrent’s Chief Executive Officer, brings close to two decades of experience as a technologist, expert on the network, and an innovator. Originally published on the BitTorrent Blog. Republished with kind permission.

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