Shallow Thoughts

because deep thoughts smack of effort

Dear FCC

Posted in Web Stuff by Bridget on May 15th, 2014

From The Washington Post regarding the vote by the FCC on Net Neutrality (emphasis mine):

The plan is not a final rule, but the vote on Thursday is a significant step forward on a controversial idea that has invited fierce opposition from consumer advocates, Silicon Valley heavyweights, and Democratic lawmakers. The FCC will now open the proposal to a total 120 days of public comment. Final rules, aimed for the end of the year, could be rewritten after the agency reviews the public comments.

My comment is framed on what is available on dearfcc.org.

Dear FCC,

Net neutrality, the principle that Internet service providers (ISPs) should treat all data that travels over their networks equally, is important to me because without it:

  1. users may have fewer options and a less diverse internet.
  2. small companies will need large bankrolls in order to compete.
  3. innovation will die.

A pay-­to-play Internet worries me because:

  1. new services that can’t afford expensive fees for better service will be less likely to succeed.
  2. users won’t know why the site/app/service feels slow – they’ll just think, “This sucks!”
  3. innovation will die.

As a web developer, I want to know that what I am building can reach a broad audience. I do my part to be mindful of latency and bandwidth usage so I can provide a pleasant experience for that audience. I want to be certain that such diligence and care in how I build things for the internet makes a difference. I cannot be certain that is the case if what I am building does not qualify for the “fast lane.” Will the users of my site/app/service suffer a poor experience as a result?

When I run tests on my service’s performance, will I know the root cause of why it is so slow? How will I be able tell that poor performance is the result of something in my code not being optimized rather than just not having enough juice supplied because I do not work for a company that can pay for a fatter pipe?

Building for the internet is an amazing and exciting task. As of late, it has become more challenging due to the proliferation of different devices with which to connect to the internet. As a development community, we advocate best practices in the area of performance which has many factors we must consider. An internet of varying speeds already exists for the end user based on their access gateway. As a developer, I take that variation into account and it sometimes breaks my brain. I cannot fathom having to factor in another variation in speed based on whether or not my employer pays “enough” to an ISP.

I’m sure my story doesn’t amount to much. I’m just a web geek mucking about in the coolest thing to hit the planet Earth: The Internet. I want to see its promise fulfilled. I wholeheartedly believe that can happen best if the internet remains neutral and open for all.

Sincerely,

Bridget Stewart
Senior Front End Developer
Internet at large

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