By Maryant Fernández Pérez

Today, 26 September 2017, European Digital Rights (EDRi) and over 200 other civil society organisations and businesses joined forces to send a letter to the head of the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) with a clear message: the world is for net neutrality. In the letter, we express concerns about the negative impact the rollback of US Title II net neutrality rules can have on the world’s shared internet ecosystem.

This letter defends the internet as a global, open and non-discriminatory network. Saving net neutrality again will benefit creativity, innovation, net competition, and the economy. It will also foster our rights to free speech and access to knowledge.

You can read the letter here and below:

Dear FCC Chairman Ajit Pai,

We are companies and organisations headquartered outside the United States of America, and we are concerned about how the rollback of US Title II net neutrality rules could negatively impact the world’s shared Internet ecosystem.

The Internet has been such a social and economic success because permissionless any-to-any communication is at its core. Net neutrality allows online business or any societal movement equal access to a global audience – undermining this principle would create significant social and economic harms.

Access to the entire Internet is not only vital to American business and society, it is essential to businesses and people outside the United States. We also depend on a strong competitive framework and legal foundation to ensure that Internet service providers (ISPs) cannot create barriers to commerce and free speech by discriminating against websites, services, and apps, or by imposing new fees that harm businesses and consumers.

The open Internet makes it possible for all of us to bring our best business ideas to the world without interference or seeking permission from any gatekeeper first. This is possible because the principle of net neutrality ensures that everyone, no matter where they are located, has unimpeded access to Internet opportunities.

The FCC’s longstanding commitment to protect the open Internet is a central reason why the Internet remains an engine of entrepreneurship and economic growth both in the US and outside its borders. We are deeply concerned that the proposed regulatory changes to net neutrality will undermine free speech and competition on the Internet. Despite assurances to the contrary, the changes proposed by the FCC would remove the only existing legal foundation strong enough to ensure the United States will continue to honor the principle of net neutrality.

An FCC rollback of net neutrality provisions would grant US Internet service providers like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon new powers to control the Internet. Ultimately, these changes will allow US Internet access providers to demand payment from online services for the right to have privileged access to that provider’s customer base, creating a patchwork of new monopolies to replace the existing open market. This will fragment the market, destroy economies of scale, reduce incentives for innovation, undermine social movements and rip the soul out of the Internet.

We urge you to maintain strong net neutrality rules and focus on policies that encourage the deployment of new network infrastructure, and create greater choice and competition amongst Internet service providers.

Thank you for considering our views.

CC: Members of Congress

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