Kickstarter to FCC: We Support an Open Internet

Destroying Net Neutrality has implications far beyond Kickstarter.

Yancey Strickler, CEO of crowdfunding giant Kickstarter, has posted today affirming their support on the subject of Net Neutrality – something that should concern us all. Kickstarter has filed an official comment with the FCC expressing their opinion on the issue.

Yancey Strickler InterviewAs posted on the Kickstarter site:

Net Neutrality is to the future of the Internet, and today we filed an official comment with the FCC. As citizens of the Internet and believers in innovation, we’re proud for Kickstarter to wave this flag. We hope others will also voice their opposition to get the attention of the FCC before they make a decision this fall.

It’s easy to get lost in the minutiae and cynicism of the Net Neutrality debate. It’s everything we hate about politics: money trumping common sense, and the loudest voices being those with the cash to hire lobbyists. Unfortunately, just believing in the common good rarely translates into political influence. But sometimes it does — as we saw with the SOPA victory in 2012, our voices can be powerful when we use them together…

…The Internet as we know it depends on an open Web with equal access for all. That core principle is very much in doubt. Please join us in making a stand — for everyone’s sake. Thanks.

Net Neutrality Tom Wheeler FCC ChairmanStrickler posted an Op-Ed piece in the Washington Post last  week stating the “FCC’s Fast Lane Internet Plane Threatens Free Exchange of Ideas”.  Strickler reflected in the article how when Kickstarter started they did not have to worry about access to the internet – something most of us take for granted today.  He went on to state that “once a fast lane exists, it will become the de facto standard on the Web. Sites unwilling or unable to pay up will be buffered to death: unloadable, unwatchable and left out in the cold”.  Certainly a chilling thought as the bigs crush the smalls and digital competition is squelched all in the name of protecting big ISP’s.  Oddly the FCC has made contradictory statements.

On one hand they advocate for a “tiered approach” – think slow lane and fast lane; on the other they state ISPs cannot put digital content companies in the slow lane if they “don’t pay for special treatment”.  Hmmm – which is it – you say?  Hard to have it both ways when you cannot have a faster service without degrading another in the land of limited resources.

FCC LogoEven more ironically the United States globally ranks  number 31 in the world of high speed internet, behind the likes of Estonia.  Yes – the country that claims to have practically invented the internet is determined to slow down the rate of innovation.  Large ISPs  controlling wide swaths of bandwidth frequently encounter no competition denying them the incentive  improve service or lower the price.  Isn’t the United States the land of capitalism and competition?  Apparently not at the FCC.

There is still time to submit your comment as the deadline is July 15th.  You may read Kickstarter’s comments in its entirety below.

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