This morning Union Square Ventures endorsed an initiative called Internet for Everyone. This group does not sponsor specific policies or legislation. Rather, it hopes to build broad popular support for a few basic principles, that hopefully will guide policy choices over the next few years.
Internet for Everyone's principles are:
Access: We agree that every home and business in America must have access to a high-speed, world class communications infrastructure.
Choice: We agree that every consumer must enjoy real choice of high-speed Internet providers to achieve lower prices and higher speeds.
Openness: We agree that every Internet user should have the right to freedom of speech and commerce online in an open market without gatekeepers or discrimination.
Innovation: We agree that the Internet should continue to create good jobs, foster entrepreneurship, spread new ideas and serve as a leading engine of economic growth.
We support this initiative because we believe decentralized, open innovation is not only good social policy, it is critical to our business. We invest in the applications layer of the Internet. Every company in our portfolio depends on open access to consumers. Open access, the ability to put something out there on the Web without asking anyone for permission, is a key driver of innovation on the Web.
In the last five years, the United States has slipped from 4th to 15th place globally in broadband penetration. It should be no surprise that venture capitalists are studying South Korea, where 8 megabits is only an average connection, for insights into multi-player gaming, streaming video, or the digitization of the home. We also find ourselves looking to Japan and Europe, where the wireless networks are more open to innovation, for clues to what will be next in mobile computing.
The United States created the Internet. Our entrepreneurial culture is well suited to creating value at the applications layer on the Web. An infrastructure characterized by Access, Choice, Openness, and Innovation will help make sure we realize that potential.