- Act Now
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- Promoting Creativity
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The following letter was sent to the CEOs of our nation's largest ISPs (AT&T, AT&T Mobility, Comcast, Cox, Sprint, T-Mobile, Time Warner Cable, Verizon, and Verizon Wireless), asking some simple questions about data caps.
RE: The Impact of Data Caps on the Future Viability of Broadband
I am writing to ask for your assistance in helping the public to understand the role that data caps play in the continuing growth of the internet. As you are aware, every day larger parts of our economy, society, and government are moving online. This movement is fuelled in part by an understanding that the infrastructure of the internet can support wide-ranging innovation and big new ideas.
However, data caps threaten to undermine that environment of innovation. They turn connectivity into a zero sum game where every new application or activity must come at the cost of an existing one. Caps can freeze innovation in place, discouraging the development of beneficial – even if data intensive – technologies.
Business, government, and the public are devoting significant resources to make the internet a place where innovation and creativity continue to expand. They are assuming that the capacity to transmit information online will keep pace with innovative imagination. If the networks cannot keep up, we need to know that now.
As you well know, distribution of commercial video is just one reason the internet has experienced such enormous growth. Governments from small municipalities to the United States Congress are moving to stream their proceedings online. Presidential debates are also available over the internet. Religious services reach parishioners unable to leave their homes through streaming video. Educational institutions at all levels are moving instruction online to reach even more students. Families divided by geography come together through online video chats. Doctors can consult with far away specialists or bedridden patients by way of the internet. And these are just examples of what is possible today.
To better understand the role that data caps will play in the future capabilities of the internet, I ask that you answer a series of questions. They are designed to inform the public about how caps are set, how they are evaluated, and how they may evolve over time.
I respectfully request that you answer these questions by May 25, 2012, and and I ask that you be specific. I understand that there may be proprietary information that you are unable to share, but our ability to plan for the future is dependent on a complete, realistic understanding of the capabilities of our communications networks.
Thank you in advance for taking the time to answer these questions.
Gigi B. Sohn
President and CEO
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