Twitter came out on Monday in support of FCC chairman Tom Wheeler’s plan to impose net neutrality, which is slated for a critical vote on Thursday, praising it as a way to ensure free communications and an open internet.
“Safeguarding the historic open architecture of the internet and the ability for all users to ‘innovate without permission’ is critical to American economic aspirations and our nation’s global competitiveness. These rules also have important implications for freedom of expression,” said the company in a blog post.
[company]Twitter[/company]’s endorsement of the plan, which would prevent ISPs from speeding up some websites at the expense of others, is significant given the company’s role as a major media company, and its historical advocacy of free speech.
In its blog post, Twitter pointed out a familiar refrain of net neutrality advocates: that emerging companies depend on access to the internet platforms that will carry their products and ideas.
“This openness promotes free and fair competition and fosters ongoing investment and innovation … Without such net neutrality principles in place, some of today’s most successful and widely-known Internet companies might never have come into existence.”
Twitter also endorses Wheeler’s plan to use so-called Title II rules, and treat ISPs as common carriers, in order to enforce net neutrality. Those rules have touched off a massive lobbying campaign by Republicans backed by the cable industry, which is seeking to characterize the measure as executive overreach. Twitter, however, pointed out that the agency is applying the rules in a “light touch” fashion, and avoiding the more burdensome parts of the regulation.
Twitter’s decision to publicly endorse Title II comes after a variety of other companies, including [company]Netflix[/company] and Etsy, have argued the rules are necessary to ensure ISP’s don’t use their control over internet pipes to stifle potential competition.