At an open meeting scheduled for December 14, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is expected to vote to end net neutrality, which are rules put in place to keep all content on the internet treated equally. Here are our thoughts:
At EveryoneOn, we believe that the internet is no longer a luxury and that online content should be open and accessible by everyone, no matter how much money they make, where they live, or who their parents are. By ending net neutrality rules, the FCC will be ending one of the most powerful aspects of a free and open internet: the access to opportunity.
Lack of access to digital opportunity is particularly harmful today because of the role that digital technology plays in everyday tasks. Without the internet, research shows, students cannot do their homework because 70 percent of their teachers assign online homework. In addition, 90 percent of people in the United States who have looked for a new job in the last two years used the internet to research jobs, and 84 percent have applied to a job online. When one adds up the economic benefit from the internet in one’s daily life, it adds up to more than $2 million in additional lifetime earnings. In today’s world, the first rung on the ladder to economic mobility is digital and it must be available to all.
We believe that ending the current net neutrality protections and any subsequent actions that alter what areas of the internet are accessible will create a massive roadblock for those already behind in the digital economy. First, we strongly urge Chairman Pai and the FCC to vote against weakening current net neutrality protections. Second, we urge the FCC to reconsider this vote and offer more time for comments before deciding to eliminate such valuable protections. Third, we invite individuals to make their voices heard about how these changes will negatively impact their daily digital lives: let not the FCC deny you these digital rights and access in the name of anti-regulatory talking points. And, fourth, we ask our government representatives, private industry partners, and other public-private influencers to join us in opposing said changes because a free and open internet is good for government, good for business, good for society, and good for all of us.
Chike Aguh is the CEO of EveryoneOn. He can be reached at email@example.com.