ISOC-NY and the #NetNeutrality Day of Action #openthepipes

As you will hopefully be aware, today July 12 is a designated ‘Internet-wide Day of Action‘ with the main purpose of creating sufficient ruckus to make the FCC think twice about rescinding its Open Internet Order.

I write, personally, rather than institutionally, to clarify hopefully the Internet Society’s position on this​,​ which is somewhat nuanced.

​Firstly​, we welcome the day of action, and indeed any activity that raises the awareness of the network and its governance. Secondly, we thoroughly endorse the principles and spirit of openness that drive it.
​That said, there are certain aspects of the Net Neutrality concept and effort ​that give us pause, the main one being the idea that central authorities should tell people how to run their networks. The historical reason the Internet grew, while its peers vanished, was just this lack of control, husbanded by an ad hoc system of organization, exemplified by the IETF, of multistakeholder collaboration. This came to be called, in fact, ‘the Internet model’.
Globally as, increasingly, authoritarian impulses drive attempts to control, or shatter the integrity of, the Internet abound, ISOC’s role to advocate against such efforts is clear. Oe of the main ways we do this, and I recommend a viewing of Kathy Brown’s keynote at the Mobile World Congress in Shanghai a couple of weeks back, is to encourage continuing local-driven growth at the edges i.e. community networks. In that speech, Kathy strongly urges cell carriers to support, and open their networks to, traffic from such communities, arguing that the resulting network effects will benefit everyone.
This, I would suggest, is where the struggle lies today, in building sustainable modes of bottom up access to the network, rather than campaigning against yet-to-be manifested horrors of monopolistic manipulation. Fast lanes and slow lanes are beside the point.  The rallying cry should be “OPEN THE PIPES!