Steve Wozniak’s open letter asks FCC to keep the Internet free

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Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has written an open letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) concerning the subject of Net Neutrality.

In it, Wozniak runs down his history with telecom and details the various headaches he’s dealt with as a result of monopoly companies and government policies. With several examples, Woz points out how innovation and experimentation will be stifled if new rules concerning net neutrality are passed into law.

Describing controlling Internet speeds as similar to billing for the bits processed by a computer, Wozniak argues that taking the Internet out of the hands of individuals and passing it to corporations will destroy much of the freedom the Internet has helped create.

“Imagine that when we started Apple we set things up so that we could charge purchasers of our computers by the number of bits they use. The personal computer revolution would have been delayed a decade or more. If I had to pay for each bit I used on my 6502 microprocessor, I would not have been able to build my own computers anyway.”

Woz goes on to note that:

“We have very few government agencies that the populace views as looking out for them, the people. The FCC is one of these agencies that is still wearing a white hat. Not only is current action on Net Neutrality one of the most important times ever for the FCC, it’s probably the most momentous and watched action of any government agency in memorable times in terms of setting our perception of whether the government represents the wealthy powers or the average citizen, of whether the government is good or is bad. This decision is important far beyond the domain of the FCC itself.”

The entire letter makes for interesting reading. It can be accessed in full at the below link.

The FCC recently voted to proceed with a plan that critics say could result in the creation of a two-tiered internet, with a “slow lane” for those unprepared to pay.

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About the author

Luke DormehlLuke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.

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