Defend the Open Internet
When cash speaks louder than innovation the Internet ceases to be open.
This could happen. You can stop it.

I. The Internet of today

Today the Internet is an open place where all bits are created equal. To Internet Service Providers (ISPs) there is no discrimination between my cat video and your email. No matter where the data originates or terminates, and no matter what that data is, it is all treated equally by law.

It is a place where the company that connects you to it has no influence on what you do with that connection. Here a start-up can take on the entrenched and win by just being better. Innovation rules all, and it flourishes.

II. The (possible) Internet of tomorrow

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is considering a change to the rules that would allow ISPs to “prioritize” bits into “fast lanes” or “slow lanes” for almost any reason, like where those bits are going, or where they came from, or what those bits say or do.

This would not be the Internet you know. It could be a place where authors, artists, businesses - the creators of the Internet - would outshine others not solely for their brilliance but in addition to how much they could afford to pay to be served fast. Users, readers, and customers - the consumers of the Internet - could face arbitrary upcharges for faster access to particular sites, services, or entire protocols. Imagine being forced to pay your ISP more for a secure connection to this website.

The level playing field will be gone.

III. What you can do: make your voice heard!

1. Contact the FCC

The FCC is the body capable of making this change and until September 10th, 2014 they’re accepting public comment on what they should do. Tell them what you think!

How to contact the FCC

Directly email your thoughts to openinternet@fcc.gov

OR...

Fill out the guided form at dearfcc.org

OR...

File your comment directly on fcc.gov: Proceeding 14-28: Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet


When contacting the FCC remember that being polite, honest, and respectful will be most effective. Don't be a troll.

Specific things the FCC wants your opinion on

1. Should internet "fast lanes" be banned?

Refer to the scenario described above for details on how internet "fast lanes" could work.

2. Should broadband providers be classified as Title II Common Carriers?

Common carriers are companies that deliver goods to the public without discrimination. They are responsible for the loss of goods in transit, must be transparent about what they charge, and are regulated to stay fair. Examples of common carriers include public airlines, cab companies, and electric and water utilities. Title II is for telecommunications companies. Land-line phone companies are classified as common carriers under Title II, and thus they can't charge more for your call because of who you're calling or what phone you're using. The question here is whether broadband providers be classified the same way. SparkFun thinks this classification is necessary to keep things fair.

3. Should these same rules apply to wireless (mobile) providers?

Apply all of the above to your cell phone. If you have a smartphone with 3G or 4G coverage imagine the situations above applying to how you use that connection.

If you just don't know what to say

Not sure how to form your response, but generally in agreement with SparkFun's position? Here is a sample comment to get you started.

I writing to express my concern that allowing internet service providers to create internet "fast lanes" will undermine the openness of the internet. Internet service providers should be classified as Title II Common Carriers so that they cannot discriminate or prioritize levels of service based on the content they're transmitting or where that content is going. This is how the internet was founded and how it must remain.


Please do not allow internet service providers to unfairly influence the FCC into creating an internet that favors the wealthy and stifles innovation. Instead act in the best interests of the American public and preserve the open and neutral internet.

While this alone is sufficient it will certainly help to share how this may affect you personally. Above all be polite and honest!

2. Contact your members of Congress

Your representatives in congress always want to hear from you. Contact them to tell them you want net neutrality and the open internet preserved with legislation.

The FCC has announced a series of round table discussions on net neutrality before any new policy is finalized, after the public comment period has ended. Round table sessions are scheduled for September 16 - October 7 in Washington DC and will be publicly broadcast. But as one Senator has already pointed out: round tables will get a more representative sample of the US population by holding more sessions outside of Washington.

If you would like the FCC to seek opinion on this matter from the people in your state, contact your representatives and tell them! Their job is to use their influence to represent you, and not just by writing laws. If you’re not sure what to say here is some verbiage to help:

The FCC recently announced it will hold public round table meetings on net neutrality and the open internet from September 16 - October 7 in Washington. Senator Leahy of Vermont has wisely called on the FCC to hold round tables all around the country to get a better sampling of wider public opinion.

Please join Senator Leahy in calling on the FCC to expand the geographical footprint of its round table sessions. I strongly favor net neutrality and the open internet and I fear that the 1.1 million comments filed urging the FCC to preserve them will go unnoticed. I want to appear in person to tell the FCC that net neutrality and the open internet are critical to preserve the free speech and free markets built into the structure of the internet for all internet users in Colorado, our nation, and the world.

3. Stay informed and inform others

Think globally, act locally. Educate your friends, family, and neighbors about net neutrality, the open internet, why it’s important, how it’s at risk, and what they can do about it.

Defend the Open Internet

Comments 3 comments

  • I love and support your company and I completely support the free internet cause. But choosing a racist, marxist and at least allegedly homophob like Che as your imagery probably wasnt the way to go.

    • Yeah, so, it is true that Che’s kind of a problematic figure at best, though I am disinclined to toss “Marxist” in the same fundamental category as “racist” and “homophobe”. (You meet plenty of perfectly decent ones, though the more orthodox sort can be a real drag at parties and in bookstores if you get ‘em going on the literature.)

      If we can go with “imaginary cat in this image does not hold any appalling views and would not summarily execute anybody” on this one, we’ll give our next propaganda exercise a little more thought on the historical context.

      • I am not aware of any groups of racists or homophobes who have used the graphic of Che Guevara as their rallying banner. Why not say they chose a physician, diplomat, and author? I recognize him, as I believe most people do, as the symbol of the people rising against overbearing government. Even Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber used him as such in his musical, Evita. (Despite the fact that the time and country are both wrong for his presence.) I think the cat, the unofficial symbol of all that is internet, with the SF beret set just so between his ears, and the determined look in his eyes, is quite a perfect graphic for the day.