"Openness has been essential to the Internet's extraordinary success. By keeping barriers to entry low, openness enables anyone - from large corporations, to start-up companies, to college students - to create innovative applications. The resulting explosion of services has increased the Internet's usefulness in ways that have made it central to modern communications."
That's what the FCC said in its D.C. circuit court filing, as the Commission fights to preserve the open Internet rules against a challenge by Verizon.
In its attack on the open Internet - Verizon et. al vs. the FCC and the United States - Verizon argued that the FCC does not have the authority to regulate the Internet, and that its rules are "arbitrary and capricious." But the FCC countered that it is protecting users from ISP practices that could prevent "an end user from accessing Netflix, or the New York Times, or even this Court's own website, unless the website paid the provider to allow customer access."
Verizon also claims that the FCC's open Internet rules violate the First Amendment. Not true, countered the FCC, because:
"Internet access providers do not engage in speech; they transport the speech of others, as a messenger delivers documents containing speech. Unlike cable systems, newspapers, and other curated media, broadband providers do not exercise editorial discretion."
CWA and Speed Matters support the FCC's open internet rules that protect users' right to attach the equipment and access the legal content, services, and applications they want over the Internet without discrimination, subject to reasonable network management practices. The FCC's open internet rules were the result of years of negotiation and debate among multiple stakeholders, and have worked since they were adopted in 2010 to protect a free and open Internet while enabling billions of dollars of job-creating investment in broadband networks.
Unfortunately, the court battle threatens to smash this carefully crafted compromise and re-open divisive debates that divert attention from the key challenge we face - building truly high-speed affordable broadband networks reaching all Americans.
Verizon vs. the open Internet (Speed Matters, Jul. 3, 2012)
Open Internet Supporters Voice Opposition to House Bill (Speed Matters, Apr. 14, 2012)
Open Internet Archives (Speed Matters)