The Federal Communications Commission has received a record number of letters and e-mails from people like me, small content creators who have to battle it out for your attention with the likes of Universal and Twentieth Century Fox.

An open Internet is absolutely essential to our survival.

Furthermore, we’ve got to put an end to the monopolistic control of Internet access by huge telecommunications companies like Comcast, Verizon and Time Warner Cable. Community-owned fiber optic networks, like the ones in Kutztown, PA, or Chattanooga, TN, offer the prospect of lower rates and better service because they are open to true competition by all content providers.

Here’s the letter I sent to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. I actually got a response!

Subject: Net Neutrality

Dear Commissioners

I am a small independent filmmaker living in a market where broadband Internet service is only available from one provider, Time-Warner Cable, which has a local monopoly through its franchise agreement with the City of Erie. I have the highest-speed Internet connection available, and it is woefully inadequate for my business needs, which include uploading and downloading of large video files on a daily basis.

Broadband Internet is as vital to my generation of small business as highways or railroads were to previous generations. Yet broadband service is increasingly concentrated, with only two providers controlling the lion’s share of Internet access nationwide, and local cable monopolies in the majority of communities such as my own.

The FCC must do what it can to restore competitiveness to this important industry. It can best do so by reclassifying high-speed Internet as a Common Carrier under Title II of the Telecommunications Act rather than attempt to ensure Net Neutrality through the current proposal, which classifies broadband as an information service under Section 706. This would allow small companies such as mine to continue to compete for audience in an open market against large corporate content providers.

Furthermore, action should be taken at the federal level to encourage the development of publicly financed and community owned fiber optic networks, that would be open to all carriers in a truly competitive market. The current regulatory environment amounts to protectionism for large monopolistic ISPs such as Comcast and Time Warner; this hurts consumers and discourages innovation in a rapidly growing market.

Thomas J. Weber
Tom Weber Films LLC
447 E. 33rd St.
Erie, PA 16504