On Wednesday, April 23, reports indicated that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) plans to significantly modify broadband Internet service and the level playing field it once provided to creators and other entrepreneurs. Under the leadership of Chairman Tom Wheeler, the FCC would allow Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to charge those offering content online a higher fee for priority delivery, establishing a two-tier Internet that could disadvantage smaller operators, such as artists and developers.
The following statement is attributed to Casey Rae, Interim Executive Director for Future of Music Coalition (FMC), a national non-profit research, education and advocacy organization for musicians:
“Make no mistake, these proposed rules are not ‘net neutrality.’ This is the moment when the regulatory agency with a mandate to promote competition and diversity did just the opposite. The Internet in America will now be carved into a fast lane for well-heeled corporations and a dirt road for everyone else.
“A free market based on competition and entrepreneurship depends on the ability for anyone to bring the next great product, idea or innovation to the marketplace. A society that respects its creators must not place access to culture in the hands of just few massive companies. These proposed rules not only don’t go far enough to safeguard consumers, they actively marginalize smaller and independent voices.
“Artists, developers, culture workers, media-makers, nonprofit organizations, community, civic and church groups must tell the FCC that this isn’t good enough. We need real rules of the road for ISPs to guarantee that creative expression and entrepreneurship can thrive in the online ecosystem. FMC and our allies look forward to making this case in the upcoming rulemaking after May 15.”