The Internet's big guns have signed their names to a letter of support for a continued open Internet, sending it to the FCC this morning, just days before the agency is slated to vote on network neutrality rules.
The letter is actually from the Open Internet Coalition, a membership group devoted to keeping the Internet "fast, open and accessible" by Americans. But the letter itself has the support of - and signatures of - 27 top technology company executives, including Google CEO Eric Schmidt, Twitter co-founder Evan Williams, Skype CEO Josh Silverman and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
In the letter, the coalition writes:
For most of the Internet’s history, FCC rules have ensured that consumers have been able to choose the content and services they want over their Internet connections. Entrepreneurs, technologists, and venture capitalists have previously been able to develop new online products and services with the guarantee of neutral, nondiscriminatory access by users, which has fueled an unprecedented era of economic growth and creativity. Existing businesses have been able to leverage the power of the Internet to develop innovative product lines, reach new consumers, and create new ways of doing business.
The debate over net neutrality has long been a complex one, including a recent back-and-forth between AT&T and Google. The position of the broadband service providers, including AT&T, is that open and free rules should apply to everyone, not just the providers. They say that a company like Google - as a content delivery network - is just as much an Internet gatekeeper as AT&T, which manages a pipeline.
But the Washington Post has reported that the FCC is more interested in violations of telecommunications laws than with potential net neutrality violations and that FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is pushing for net neutrality rules that would focus more on broadband providers and less on web companies such as Google.