California State Controller

Why the FCC's net neutrality proposal is the right one for right now

December 20, 2010: 8:52 PM ET

Despite criticism, a venture capitalist and former California State Controller explains why the Genachowski net neutrality proposal is a must-have for industry, the FCC, and the public.

By Steve Westly, contributor

Steve Westly

Steve Westly

Nobody likes being stuck in traffic or choosing the slow checkout line at the grocery store.

Now imagine if you were faced with the choice of being forever stuck in the digital slow lane or paying even higher fees for faster access to the Internet.

Entrepreneurs, investors, and consumer groups all agree that open access to the Internet is vital to stimulating innovation and the economic growth of our country. The moment we allow broadband providers to pick winners and losers online, we make it more difficult for the free market to function.

Open and fair access has been central to the Internet's growth since it was invented. Entrepreneurs have the freedom to create websites and products knowing that the marketplace is just a click away. What sets the Internet apart from more traditional marketplaces is that it democratizes commerce. It lowers barriers to entry and reduces start-up costs and time needed to bring products to market for every small, and large, business in America.

Consider, for a moment, how the Internet has transformed core industries – communication, education, and banking, to name a few. We can now talk with friends, get an advanced degree, or monitor our bank account simply by logging on. Even larger industries like energy and health care are poised to begin this shift to a digitized world, and we need net neutrality to ensure that transition occurs.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is now poised to adopt an Open Internet framework that ensures the next 20 years online will be as productive as the last 20.


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