An Appeal from the American People Regarding Net Neutrality

Dear FCC Commissioners,

My name is Christian Madonna, and I am a concerned US Citizen. I am one of the very people that you have been appointed, not elected, to represent. Though that may be the case, as I understand the foundations of our representative democracy, you are still a representative of me and all other citizens. As one of such citizens, I argue the case to each of you that the upcoming vote to decide whether to dismantle Net Neutrality or to keep its protections in place will be the most critical decision you and your fellow commissioners will face in your careers at the Federal Communications Commission.

It is of the utmost importance of every person, especially those bestowed the privilege to serve our nation as lawmakers and enforcers, to protect the very ideals of our free and open democracy, freedom of speech and expression, our free and open system of enterprise — that which encourages competition, eliminates barriers for entrepreneurs, both big and small, to enter new industries, and that which rewards innovations that improve lives with better products and services with success. I will argue to each and every one of you that this vote to dismantle Net Neutrality is wrong, morally, financially, logically, and goes against the very ideals this country was founded upon, and still proudly upholds.

It is time for you to decide your legacy. Will you vote to remove protections from the people whom you have been appointed to serve? Will you vote to endanger the protections of free speech and expression, of equal representation by measure of equal and neutral access to broadband internet for all Americans, all businesses, all websites, no matter their corporate or political ties, no matter their budgets or politics? Will you choose to harm the interests of your 323 million constituents to appease the demands placed upon you by a powerful oligarchy of telecommunications providers? I will remind you that you have been tasked by the people to regulate these companies. We are your constituents. We are your bosses. You were not tasked by these corporations to regulate the people. In doing so you will have failed your one job. You will have broken your oath of office and you will have lost the trust and faith placed upon you by the American people.

I will argue the points of Chairman Pai has claimed to stand by on the FCC Website. And how this move subverts all of the ideals and goals you all so claim to stand for.

Chairman Pai’s regulatory philosophy is informed by a few simple principles. Rules that reflect these principles will result in more innovation, more investment, better products and services, lower prices, more job creation, and faster economic growth.
Consumers benefit most from competition, not preemptive regulation. Free markets have delivered more value to American consumers than highly regulated ones.

The eventual goal of every firm in a free and competitive market is to move towards monopolistic or oligopolistic competition in which a few large and powerful firms have all of the power in the market, and consumers are left powerless and without an option. It is not the role of the Government to step aside and allow this to happen or to encourage it, though many of you and your fellow civil servants seem to need to be reminded of this. It is with regulations such as Net Neutrality that the Government of the United States of America protects free, open, and competitive markets. This rule allows all people and firms the ability to share their content, their products, their ideas in an open and free marketplace of ideas on the internet. To take this rule away and allow corporations to decide who gets how much bandwidth, whose sites load faster, slower, or not at all, whose sites are only accessed by charging citizens a premium, and whose content and products are to be promoted because they are in line with the corporate utility provider. To do this would be to take away regulatory power from the people and give it to powerful corporations.

No regulatory system should indulge arbitrage; regulators should be skeptical of pleas to regulate rivals, dispense favors, or otherwise afford special treatment.

This is a favor to Verizon, Comcast, and AT&T and the American people and you all especially are well aware of that. This is special treatment in which you take away rights previously granted to the people and indulge them into the hands of powerful interests, a handful of sometimes rivals who have banded together (see Oligarchy).

Particularly given how rapidly the communications sector is changing, the FCC should do everything it can to ensure that its rules reflect the realities of the current marketplace and basic principles of economics.

The economic marketplace is one of free and open competition, a fair market of ideas and products and services that is kept a sacred space for access to information and transformative change that is protected by you, the FCC, and the government from corporations who would so gladly take away the freely competitive nature of the internet marketplace and create new realities that provide consumers with even fewer bargaining rights and powers.

As a creature of Congress, the FCC must respect the law as set forth by the legislature.

Respect the Net Neutrality Rules put forth by your own commission and voted in favor of in 2015. Respect Title II of the Telecommunications Act of 1934 set forth by the legislature. Internet Providers are public utilities. Say it again and again until it sets in. Respect Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 set forth by the legislature.

The FCC is at its best when it proceeds on the basis of consensus; good communications policy knows no partisan affiliation.

The overwhelming, and I mean overwhelming consensus of the American people from the entire span of the political spectrum, whom you are to represent no matter your partisan affiliation, is in favor of Net Neutrality.

One last time, I demand that you act in support of net neutrality, as it is a matter of critical import to the general public, to freedom of speech, and to fair competition on the internet, and to capitalism and democracy. We may not all be in complete agreement on all issues, but I am sure we can agree that a free and competitive internet is good for citizens, good for businesses of all sizes, and good for the open exchange of ideas and information that keeps our democracy strong and our country great. Regulations that protect that free and open internet protect citizens and strengthen our economy. And Net Neutrality is one of the most important regulations protecting our Internet and our people.

We are all watching your actions on Net Neutrality.

Your concerned constituent,
Christian Madonna

An open email letter sent to each of the Federal Communications Commissioners on December 13, 2017, in advance of the vote on December 14 regarding Net Neutrality.