The United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is poised to act on a “net neutrality” proposal that will put vital consumer and competitive protections back on the books to ensure an open Internet and continue U.S. leadership in Internet policymaking.
Safeguarding the historic open architecture of the Internet and the ability for all users to “innovate without permission” is critical to American economic aspirations and our nation’s global competitiveness. These rules also have important implications for freedom of expression.
Empowering “lesser” or historically less powerful voices to express themselves and be heard globally is at the core of Twitter’s DNA. Under net neutrality principles, consumers decide which lawful content, applications, and services they want to create, access or share with others. Currently, the Internet provides an almost frictionless experience for an individual to communicate with the world, and it also provides the lowest barrier to competitive entry for businesses the world has ever seen. It serves as a great equalizer in the access to information and in reaching a global audience. If you have an opinion or a new innovative web-based service, you don’t have to get permission to share it with the world at large.
This is the heart of Twitter.
This openness promotes free and fair competition and fosters ongoing investment and innovation. We need clear, enforceable, legally sustainable rules to ensure that the Internet remains open and continues to give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers. This is the heart of Twitter. Without such net neutrality principles in place, some of today’s most successful and widely-known Internet companies might never have come into existence.
Through The Internet Association, Twitter has joined other leading Internet companies to urge the FCC to promulgate common sense net neutrality rules. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has proposed securing the legal foundation for these rules in Title II of the Communications Act (along with other statutory authority). We strongly support ensuring that such rules include prohibitions against blocking or throttling of sites and services as well as the paid prioritization of some traffic over others. These rules should govern Internet service whether users are at their desk at home or on their smartphone across town.
In moving forward, the FCC is also wisely avoiding unnecessary and overly burdensome regulation. The Commission is embracing the same kind of “light touch” regulatory approach that the Congress and the Commission has pursued with respect to wireless services since the 1990s. We’re also pleased that in recent weeks on Capitol Hill, we’ve seen a return to bipartisan support for net neutrality rules. We welcome the discussion of possible statutory rules that could codify these principles.
The continuation of this wildly successful Internet policy approach is vital.
Smart Internet policies in the U.S., including net neutrality principles, have spawned innovation, investment, and job creation – a “virtuous circle” of innovation driving user adoption, leading to network investment, leading to inevitable continued innovation. This in turn has enabled the worldwide connectivity of millions of users as well as businesses and nonprofits large and small. The continuation of this wildly successful Internet policy approach is vital. In this way the U.S. provides global leadership – critical because many countries look to the U.S. for guidance around Internet policymaking.
Twitter and its millions of users are counting on Washington to reaffirm net neutrality rules for their obvious and myriad benefits to the Internet ecosystem, to the economy, and to freedom of expression. For all these reasons, we strongly support the FCC taking action.