New York City Believes in a Free and Open Internet

By Miguel Gamiño, Chief Technology Officer for New York City

Today, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai announced his plan to dismantle the FCC’s authority to protect and defend the internet. He wants to turn it from an essential utility, required to give fair passage to all, into private property where the owners can make discriminatory and self-serving decisions that slow or block some content or create political or financial gain.

This move comes at a time when these companies are also the content providers, so they have even more reason to use their gatekeeper position for their own profit. With the emerging market for the Internet of Things, they could have this same power over basic urban functions.

As our Mayor has said, the internet belongs to the people — not giant corporations. We’re not giving it up without a fight.

As a city, we have committed to connecting all New Yorkers with affordable, reliable broadband service by 2025, and Net Neutrality is a non-negotiable part of that vision. That’s why projects like LinkNYC — which is transforming our outdated pay phones into the world’s largest and fastest free municipal Wi-Fi network — will always be net neutral, no matter what the federal government does.

The principle of Net Neutrality — requiring internet service companies to treat all content equitably — is fundamental to the promise of the internet as an engine of democracy. It is what allows New Yorkers who are online to exchange ideas, access services and reach people around the world. Similarly, Net Neutrality is critical to the City’s robust and growing tech community, who under the Chairman’s plan would need the blessing of internet service providers to reach digital consumers.

Classifying internet service as an “information service,” as the Chair wants to do, robs the FCC of the necessary tools to protect consumers and ensure the digital economy is fair and open to competition.

His proposal comes on the heels of Congress’ and the President’s unconscionable gutting of essential online privacy protections, allowing internet service companies to use, sell or give any Internet information away without our knowledge and consent.

New Yorkers — and all Americans — deserve better.

We will review the details of the FCC’s proposal, but rest assured this administration will fight to protect a free and open internet at every turn.