As promised, here is my letter to the FCC, unedited.
Just want to give you fair warning that this will get a bit soap-boxy. This subject tends to get under my craw a bit, so some of what I have to say may come off as totally irrational.
I have a pretty unique view on the world wide web’s contribution to the democratization of media-content production. I have a bachelor’s in Journalism, which I’ve never really utilized for reasons that will become clear. I graduated in May of 2005, and both the Internet & world wide web (two different things) weren’t nearly as developed as they are today. At that time, the options were the mainstream media or [cricket sounds], and I have deep-seeded philosophical differences with the mainstream media as far as the content they produce as well as how it’s presented.
Of the new forms of content production that the Internet has innovated, I’ve been more involved in blogging than anything else, although I’ve recently started a podcast with my partner, Scarlet, called Honest, Open & Vulnerable (a copy of this letter will also be posted on our web-site). I could wax poetic about how producing it has been incredibly therapeutic for both of us. However, this isn’t about our content, it’s about the millions of other Toms, Sarahs, Harrys & Leelas producing their own content without a multimedia corporation paying the bill. An really small amount of content I read/listen to/watch is produced by the mainstream, most of it is done by independents that don’t receive corporate funding.
By allowing corporate content providers to purchase bandwidth, that restricts or downright blocks access to other content providers, and in so doing, you’re complicit with them telling the rest of us that our content has no value. As humans, it’s in written into our DNA to create, and I don’t necessarily mean offspring. Artistic creation is an integral part of our survival to express ourselves and create something that other people could appreciate & resonate with. Take a quick inventory of what’s immediately around you; all of that was created because one person said “Hey, I’d like to make ___,” someone else said “Ok, why not, let’s try it,” and there was a marketplace of ideas that facilitated its creation. Having an open forum allows the best ideas to bubble-up and doesn’t discourage creation by lowering the cost of entry. I think that by creating a situation in which the corporations are the gatekeepers, you open up the possibility of increased dangerously compulsive behavior.
I urge you, FCC, to shut the door on corporations’ ability to purchase bandwidth. I will even go one step further and suggest that the Internet & world wide web are regulated as a public utility. There’s no doubt that it’s been integrated as part of our country’s infrastructure. I understand that’s a bit of a slipperier slope, but I wanted to put that idea out there, as well.