This week, our founder and web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee and our president and CEO, Adrian Lovett, visited Washington DC to advocate for the preservation of enforceable net neutrality rules.
The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) launched a public consultation earlier this year, and intends to undo current net neutrality rules. Net neutrality is the principle that all internet content must be treated equally without discrimination – political or economic – and the Web Foundation believes that the current net neutrality rules are essential to keeping the web free and open for everyone.
During the visit, Sir Tim and Mr Lovett met with the FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, as well as Senator John Thune (R-South Dakota), Senator Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts), Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), Senator Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi).
Throughout the meetings, Sir Tim and Mr Lovett reiterated the Web Foundation’s strong support for net neutrality and the comments we submitted to the consultation. Importantly, the existing regulatory framework establishes enforceable rules against blocking, throttling and paid prioritisation, which is crucial for the open web to flourish and encourage innovation, competition and creativity. Doing away with the current net neutrality protections would open the door for internet service providers to pick winners and losers online.
Commenting on the meetings, Lovett said:
“In these meetings we heard concerns and perspectives of key actors and Sir Tim was able to offer his technical and strategic insights as the inventor of the web, and the need to maintain the Web and internet as an open space for innovation. The discussions were all candid and constructive and our team appreciated the chance to hear different points of view.”
These meetings follow a piece by Sir Tim the Wall Street Journal making the case for net neutrality, and are part of our awareness-raising efforts to share our strong support for this principle with policy-makers around the world. From India to Nigeria, the Web Foundation has advocated for a neutral internet for everyone.
In the past, Sir Tim has highlighted how fundamental net neutrality has been to the web and its success:
“When I invented the web, I didn’t have to ask anyone for permission, and neither did America’s successful internet entrepreneurs when they started their businesses. To reach its full potential, the internet must remain a permissionless space for creativity, innovation and free expression. In today’s world companies can’t operate without internet, but access to it is controlled by just a few providers.”
At the Web Foundation, we hope to encourage the US to lead by example in upholding this critical principle for a free and open web that is truly for everyone.