Nov 30, 2017

To Chairman Ajit Pai and Commissioners Michael O’Rielly and Brendan Carr:

This has always been a web development blog, and I’ve always followed a simple content rule:  Posts must be about a web/IoT-related project or technology. Sadly, your choices now threaten the projects I post about and the ecosystem in which they exist. Truly your short-sighted, selectively-applied ideology threatens my entire lifestyle.

The internet plays a role in nearly every aspect of my life. I develop online services via an internet connection from a home office. The vast majority of my social interaction with family and friends occurs online. I met my significant other first online. My entertainment (from video to gaming to books) is almost exclusively consumed online. The majority of my learning occurs online through classes, blogs, repositories, and wikis. All of my finances from my checking account to my bills to my retirement are managed online, and always have been. Access to the internet is genuinely more essential to my everyday life, career, and place in society than having running water in my home. That might strike you as an exaggeration. It is not.

I have anxiously watched the entrenchment of an increasingly predatory oligopoly this past decade, and I know you see it too in spite of your deeply disingenuous Myth vs. Fact bullshit. I have watched our last-mile providers explicitly state they do not compete with each other. I have watched them capture cities’ utility poles and deny attachment to any who would compete. I have watched them block and throttle traffic, perform shakedowns on businesses by deliberately sabotaging bandwidth during negotiations, sell services they cannot and do not intend to deliver, and handle and price traffic differently for popular services. Only once have I lived at an address where more than one company provided an adequate connection for my needs.

"We never will, but it’s very important that we be able to. But we won’t. So let us do it. Because we won’t do it. Which is why we’re spending so much money to make sure we can. But we won’t. But let us."

You know there isn’t a free market, and you know that killing net neutrality will not change that at all. You know you are setting the FTC up for failure. For all your bluster about competition, you seem blind and deaf to the issues currently preventing it. For all your zealotry about deregulation, you seem concerned only with removing the regulations that protect me. You know you will get away with this and collect your payoff because in today’s post-truth world there are no longer consequences for being flagrantly evil.

I expect I will soon have data caps and surcharges for low-latency traffic, VPN connections, web-accessible ports, and p2p sharing. My web experience will be parceled out into bundles with price tags and restrictions, and I will simply have to deal with it since there is a regional monopoly and without my connection I no longer have a career. I expect my future, and our country’s future will be strip-mined thanks to your choices.

America’s online innovation has been the envy of the world for decades. What a terrible joke that the regulatory capture of a mere three people can allow all of it to be skimmed and double-dipped by a couple of entrenched telecommunications conglomerates.

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