A free and fair playing field is one of the cornerstones of technological development and innovation. As the leader of a tech company that operates worldwide, with a large audience in the United States — as well as an American citizen — I have a vested interest if seeing the Web remain a place accessible to all.
If you’re not in tech like me, you may ask why users should care. Quite simply, Net Neutrality prevents communication networks from dictating the apps you use and the content you have access to. It obliges ISPs to provide us, as consumers, with open networks without discrimination. At the very heart of this issue is a simple but powerful concept: freedom.
Then there are the practical considerations. Eliminating net neutrality would allow a small number of companies to control what users can and cannot see, and would block content for users who can’t afford to pay — basically a pay to play — something that goes completely against the tenets upon which the Internet was built: openness, accessibility and freedom to produce and consume content regardless of one’s economic capacity. What would the Internet look like if cable companies — not people — were the only arbiters of which sites, apps or content is seen and ultimately succeeds? It’s a terrifying thought.
And it’s not just users who will be affected: small developers (like so many of the developers we host on Softonic) and startups, who play a huge role in our country’s economic growth, will be at a serious disadvantage to compete. This will be devastating for innovation in the future.
If you’re not in the U.S., you may ask why you should care about net neutrality — but it’s actually a global issue. Companies hosted with U.S.-based ISPs control a significant portion of the global economy. In this sense, we all have a horse in this race and the U.S. government has an obligation to ensure that conditions are kept fair for all.
Speaking again as a representative of my own company, I want to say that as an organization we are staunchly opposed to the limitation of consumer choice. This goes against everything that Softonic stands for.
Softonic was born during a time when the Internet was still a frontier, and it flourished thanks to that freedom. As a company, we have always been about leveling the playing field, providing a platform for developers large and small, local or global, to distribute their software for free and freely. The notion of fair play is core to who we are and what we do. Without Net Neutrality our company would have never become what it is today.
A small group of large companies should not be allowed to interfere with the open marketplace, our freedom to operate, our users’ freedom to access content or anyone’s freedom of speech. To lose Net Neutrality is to lose the Internet that enables us to be free.