FCC's response to the VC open internet letter

Over the weekend, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler sent a response to the letter that over 100 VCs and angel investors submitted last week.  In the letter, we stressed the importance of an open internet as a foundation for the stunning levels of investment and innovation we’ve seen in the internet applications sector over the past decade.

You can read Chairman Wheeler’s response here (also embedded below).  It reiterates high level support for an open internet and states that all options, including Title II reclassification of internet access providers, are on the table.  The latter part is the key — with the FCC going on the record that a discussion Title II reclassification will be included in the upcoming Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM).

This letter, combined with the reports over the weekend that the FCC may be revising its approach to open internet policy, are, at the very least, a step in the right direction and an opening in the conversation.  But there is still a long way to go on this issue, and a lot of work to be done over this conversation continues over the next few months.  The next step is the publication of the NPRM at this Thursday’s Commission meeting.

For those who are just jumping into the conversation, here is some good background reading:

 * Tim Lee’s explanation of how payments for traffic on the internet work, and why what the ISPs are attempting to do disrupts the whole model

 * AT&T’s filing, arguing against open internet rules

 * Jon Brodkin’s (Ars Technica) coverage of the reaction to AT&T’s letter (Jon’s coverage of this issue is a great place to follow the goings on)

 * Barbara van Schewick’s breakdown of the issue, including concrete examples of threats & harms posed by a non-open internet.

And finally — a concrete action to take, if you haven’t already, is to sign the White House petition in support of an open internet.


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