The creative geniuses behind more than 240 television shows urged the Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday to nix an agency proposal that would create different speeds for different websites on the Internet.
Such “fast lanes,” the Writers Guild of America, West cautions, would make the Internet a place where an elite, wealthy few control most of the content and hike consumer prices — just like cable television.
“If Net Neutrality is neutered, the Internet will become like cable television,” the guild wrote. “A few corporate gatekeepers such as Comcast will be allowed to decide what content consumers can access and on what terms. The danger is that blocking, discrimination and paid prioritization could occur.”
Such a market, the guild argues, would lead to the consolidation of power over the Internet within the hands of a few monopolistic service providers and lock out competition.
“That is exactly what has occurred in our traditional film and television business,” the letter reads. “After decades of consolidation and mergers, seven corporations control 95% of television production and viewing.”
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is backing new regulations that would let Internet service providers — such as Comcast, Time Warner, and Verizon — charge websites for access to so-called fast lanes that would leave websites unable to pay that fee subject to lesser levels of service.
Wheeler’s rules come after a federal appeals court in January struck down the existing basis for net neutrality. Public pressure has intensified ahead of the FCC’s Thursday vote on the proposal.