Writers Guild of America, East Statement on FCC’s Proposed Changes To The Open Internet Rules
The Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) has long opposed higher-cost "fast lanes" available only to those with deep enough pockets to take advantage of their speed and quality. They will enable ISPs and edge providers to set themselves up as gatekeepers akin to the multinational media conglomerates that dominate today’s marketplace. This would squander the promise of an open internet, an internet with unlimited opportunities for creators and audiences to connect based not on the ability to pay but on the quality of the work, enabling people to explore the critical issues of the day, to discover what is entertaining and informative and enlightening. We note that the FCC appears to want the potentially enormous price of the fast lanes to be paid by the entities that offer content to consumers, and to insist that price to be "reasonable". Two responses are in order: First, it is naive to think that the consumers won’t ultimately pay. Second, permitting the key corporate players in the digital world to favor content based on the ability to pay throws the concept of neutrality directly under the bus. The WGAE’s members make feature films, television shows, webisodes, and news programs, and they know first-hand how the current media marketplace, controlled by powerful gatekeepers, limits their creative and economic opportunities. Following the DC Circuit Court ruling, the FCC has the opportunity to stand with the hundreds of millions of Americans who use the internet every day as a basic utility in their lives for work, news and entertainment. We urge the FCC to recognize that the American people will pay the price for permitting the Internet to be reconfigured in the interest of well-heeled gatekeepers.