This is it: we've made it to the big week where the FCC is expected to vote on and likely approve a new framework for net neutrality and an open internet. And as that day approaches, supporters of Tom Wheeler's plan to reclassify broadband as a utility are trying to amplify their voices even more. A band of musicians have said they'll do whatever they can to help spread the message that the FCC has it right. And now Etsy — a huge proponent of Wheeler's plan from the start — has joined in. On Etsy's blog, CEO Chad Dickerson wrote a passionate piece on how an internet "wide open to newcomers" helped him build an indie merchant empire.
"Free and open" was what made the Internet work then, and it’s a critical principle now. I didn’t have to ask permission to build my first websites. I had unfettered access to materials that helped me teach myself how to code. As I learned more, I quickly came to understand that the Internet was so much more than a network of cables and wires that connected computers around the world. It was a platform for the purest expression of freedom, openness and possibility that I had experienced in my life.
"Mine is a common story."
"Mine is a common story and one we need to protect for future generations," wrote Dickerson. As Wheeler looked for input to ultimately help shape his net neutrality policy, Dickerson pointed to the success stories of Etsy's biggest sellers. These people, often working out of their own homes, depend on internet traffic getting equal treatment to put their self-made crafts up against the wares of larger retailers. Etsy currently has over 1.3 million users. "This isn’t just about a high-bandwidth service such as video," wrote Dickerson. "It’s about any business that depends on the Internet to reach consumers, including the entrepreneurs on Etsy."
Separately, Twitter today said that the ability to create and share ideas "instantly, without barriers" is at the company's heart, and believes that Wheeler's proposed rules will protect the open web that makes its instant communication possible. The FCC is scheduled to vote on Wheeler's proposal during its February 26th meeting. "Instead of capitulating to scare tactics, we should celebrate Thursday’s vote," wrote Dickerson. "The Internet will prevail as an engine of economic opportunity, the likes of which we have never seen before."