Here's What Internet Pioneers Told Congress About Saving Net Neutrality

Steve Wozniak, Vint Cerf, and Tim Berners-Lee are standing up to the FCC.

Getty Images / Sean Gallup

As the Federal Communications Commission plans to move forward with its plan to kill net neutrality, a group of tech giants has spoken up to tell the U.S. Senate, the FCC, and FCC chairman Ajit Pai to relent in their efforts.

In an open letter, published Monday, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, internet pioneer Vint Cerf, and World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee, along with 18 other heavy-hitters urged four lawmakers who oversee the FCC to cancel the vote on Thursday that could end the longtime policy of treating all internet content equally.

“You Don’t Understand How the Internet Works”

In the letter, which is not-so-subtly titled, “Internet Pioneers and Leaders Tell the FCC: You Don’t Understand How the Internet Works,” the authors argue that repealing net neutrality is a poorly thought out move that’s based on inaccurate assumptions and point out that there’s no good plan for something to replace it with.

Vint Cerf is one of the 21 names signed to an open letter asking lawmakers to urge FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to cancel the December 14 vote to kill net neutrality.

Getty Images / Alex Wong

Here’s a short excerpt that summarizes some of the key ideas:

This proposed Order would repeal key network neutrality protections that prevent Internet access providers from blocking content, websites and applications, slowing or speeding up services or classes of service, and charging online services for access or fast lanes to Internet access providers’ customers. The proposed Order would also repeal oversight over other unreasonable discrimination and unreasonable practices, and over interconnection with last-mile Internet access providers. The proposed Order removes long-standing FCC oversight over Internet access providers without an adequate replacement to protect consumers, free markets and online innovation.

Net neutrality, the set of FCC regulations that maintain the internet as an open ecosystem, keeps internet service providers from charging customers a premium for preferred access to customers via higher network speeds. Verizon, where Pai formerly served as associate general counsel, is one of the companies that stand to benefit financially from the FCC killing net neutrality.

And while the authors of the open letter would also benefit from maintaining net neutrality, by almost every analysis, so would consumers. Needless to say, Wozniak, Cerf, and Berners-Lee aren’t the only ones who are pissed.

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