Surprise! The Open Internet Spurs Innovation

We’ve been saying it for years. Now a new report from the nonpartisan Institute for Policy Integrity backs it up: The open Internet — an even playing field on which all websites and applications are treated equally — is an engine of innovation and investment.

This might sound obvious to you and me, but corporate-controlled forces in Washington are doing their best to prove otherwise.

Indeed, as we gear up for a Senate vote on a “resolution of disapproval” that could kill the open Internet as we know it, it’s as important as ever to remind our lawmakers that the open Internet is an unparalleled force for speech, innovation and communication. Only Net Neutrality — the founding principle of the Internet — will keep these benefits in place.

Here are a few takeaways from this new report — which shows how “a weakening of the principle of network neutrality might impact the Web”:

  • “Internet infrastructure and content work together to generate huge economic benefits for consumers — possibly as much as $5,686 per user, per year.”
  • “Changes to the way the Internet is managed could increase these benefits even further or reduce the amount of surplus the market generates.” In other words, bad Internet policy could place the benefits of the open Internet at risk.
  • “In the absence of network neutrality, [Internet service providers] would have conflicting incentives regarding investment in congestion-reducing infrastructure improvements.” That is, with Net Neutrality, ISPs would have an incentive to allow network congestion, so that they could create slow and fast lanes, and charge content providers — or possibly users like you and me — extra to travel in the fast lanes.
  • “If ISPs are able to extract more relative surplus from content developers, this might discourage potential start-ups from testing the market.” Here’s another way of putting this: ISPs want to charge content providers — that’s you and me, our journalist friends, developers and basically any regular person who makes a living online — for access to the fast lane. But not everyone would be able to afford such fees. And that means the cost of entering new markets, which right now is near zero thanks to the open Internet, could prohibit the kind of innovation we take for granted on the Web.

There’s a lot more to dig into, so go ahead and check out the report. And then make sure you’ve told your senator to defend our Internet rights.

People + Policy

= Positive Change for the Public Good

people + policy = Positive Change for the Public Good