CO-FOUNDER OF THE INTERNET: Don’t Turn Internet Independence Day Into Government Dependence Day

Screen Shot 2015-04-26 at 9.10.14 AMThe less we allow government to play a role in our day-to-day lives, the more freedoms we have.

April marks the 20th anniversary of the commercialization of the Internet, ironically, the very same month that the FCC’s new Open Internet regulations were officially published, tossing the Internet into a public utility model characterized by stagnation and ambiguity. The rules kill the “permissionless innovation” they purport to protect by inviting the Commission to regulate the Internet via the means created for the 1934 monopoly voice telephone system.

The past two decades of Internet-driven success were set in motion with the passage of the High Performance Computing Act of 1991 from then-Senator Al Gore, which proved to be one of the most successful policy decisions of all time. In recognition of the success of our current Internet reality and how its commercialization transformed daily life, Congress should deem April 30 “Internet Independence Day.”

Officiating Internet Independence Day is an opportunity to initiate bi-partisan legislation preserving the private-sector framework of the Internet.

Americans today enjoy a thousand-fold improvement from dial-up modems 15 million Internet early adopters relied on in the 90s. The Internet today reaches 3 billion people and a proliferation of services push communication options far beyond the long distance phone call of 1995.

Instituting 1930s law designed for the voice telephone is assuredly not the answer. To be clear, the FCC’s new Internet rules are a total reversal of the policies that took the Internet to where it is today. The adoption of these public utility “Title II” provisions in FCC’s order totally reverses course, relying on very thin rationale, and puts 20 years of gains in jeopardy.

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