The Future of the Internet Belongs to Everyone

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:


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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.


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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.


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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


 

Further Reading:

October 15, 2009
The Internet Civil Rights Act of 2009

April, 2010
The day Net Neutrality died?

May 6, 2010
The impact of the ‘third way’ on the information highway

June 11, 2010
BITAG Brings Hope to Net Neutrality Debate

August 13, 2010
Net Neutrality is Not Decided

October 5, 2010
Net Neutrality (CRTC-style)

January 14, 2014
Closing the Open Internet: Permission and Payola

April 24, 2014
Net Neutrality: We Need a Better Deal

May 14, 2014
Hollywood Needs Net Neutrality Too

Written by: Eric Klinker

Eric Klinker, BitTorrent's Chief Executive Officer, brings close to two decades of experience as a technologist and an innovator.

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5 Responses to “The Future of the Internet Belongs to Everyone”

  1. bradleyjw

    As a parent who has taught my daughters about the world using various free Internet resources – the idea that some of those could be pay-gated is absurd. Wikipedia, The Internet Archive (archive.org), KahnAcademy, CodeAcademy and worldatlas.com are all public services which do not have the economic means to match the fees demanded of the top-tier content distribution companies by the ISPs. The top-tier content distribution companies (Netflix, Hulu, HBO, etc.) are for-profit companies that have the means to pay for priority access to ISPs networks.

    A direct analogy would be if a telephone network decided that they could tier off service on their network. They would constrain my telephone connection unless I paid for a priority level of service. My voice quality would be compressed to the point that I sounded like a neutered robot unless I paid for the “human voice” level of service for only $100 per month. But what if I can’t pay *_MORE_* (I’m already paying for their “service”) to sound better… isn’t this financial discrimination?

    I believe that the Internet should be treated as an extension of the Library of Congress – a public resource for the public good. There should not be the ability for the access provider I pay to impact my experience through their pipe.

    Unfortunately, the market can not solve this problem, as an Economist by training, I believe that the unfettered free market would solve this problem — the ISPs stupid enough to impact the user’s experience would quickly go out of business because of client flight to other services. However, the reality is, if you want decent Internet access in the United States, you are restricted to one of the incumbent Telephone or Cable companies — monopolies who have been quietly optimizing their business model… continuous price increases for the same (or eroded) service.

    I’d be happy to discuss this with anybody so that they understand what the *TRUE* implications of losing Net Neutrality are… this is important everyone… make your voices heard!

    Reply
  2. jon49

    @bradleyjw:disqus, I don’t know a whole bunch about this issue but all the fear tactics you are using have been refuted in the video I posted and from what I understand phones haven’t been working with the same rules as home internet and there hasn’t been a problem there. I think people are just letting themselves get scared over nothing and asking the government to take away are freedoms in exchange for us “feeling safe” from the big bad corporations. (Granted I don’t think the corporations are blameless for bad things either, especially when combined with governments.)

    Reply
  3. Patrick Donnelly

    I think this is the 2nd billboard campaign you have done. I see them driving up to SF on my way to work. I actually took a photo today and was going to tweet it but I saw this story syndicated on PSFK.

    Very creative campaign. Love the conversations are you are starting.

    However, Make the URLs bigger on the next one. Hard to read while driving.

    Patrick Donnelly, Marketing, Revel Systems

    Reply

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