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Kickstarter CEO Says Internet Providers Threaten Free Thinking and Competition

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Posted on Jul 7, 2014

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Yancey Strickler writes in The Washington Post that his crowdfunding platform and the “more than 60,000 creative ideas that have been brought to life using Kickstarter” would not exist if companies like Comcast had their way.

FCC Chair Tom Wheeler has proposed the creation of an Internet fast lane, something Internet service providers desperately want. It would allow providers like Verizon and Time Warner the ability to charge customers like Netflix a fee to have speedy access to their customers. Indeed, this is already happening.

Strickler, like many Web entrepreneurs, thinks this is a bad idea:

This proposed system would incentivize entrepreneurs to divert resources from their customers and staff and into paid deals with ISPs. Trading healthy competition for deep pockets is a terrible way to create an innovative, competitive economy.

It’s also a terrible way to promote a vibrant culture and informed citizenry. Allowing paid priority access and content discrimination would threaten the free exchange of ideas that takes place online, between people from all around the world, every second of every day. That free exchange is key to what makes the Internet such a powerful force.

The people who use our site are innovators, entrepreneurs, artists and creators. They’re the people who are making things that improve our world. They’re also backers — people supporting their neighbor’s dream or giving $20 to a stranger because they love an idea and want to see it come alive. These people have the passion and generosity that our world so desperately needs, but they have little influence in Washington.

That may be true, but tech companies do have influence. Although ISPs are spending a reported fortune lobbying the government over various mergers and the future of Net neutrality, other companies, among them heavyweights like Google, are pushing back.

You can send your own comment to the FCC right here.

—Posted by Peter Z. Scheer

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