Vint Cerf, Other Web Pioneers Throw Support Behind Net Neutrality Fight

In addition to Cerf and Reed, Internet pioneers Stephen Crocker, David Lynch and Lauren Weinstein signed a letter Tuesday to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski praising him in his stance to "protect and maintain the Internet's unique openness." The men also told Genachowski in the letter that they "support the FCC process for considering the adoption of your proposed nondiscrimination and transparency principles."

The letter comes a day after Genachowski received a missive also supporting his position on Net neutrality from Internet behemoths such as Google, Amazon, Facebook and Mozilla.

Both letters were backed by The Open Internet Coalition, a Net neutrality advocacy organization, which has called for ISP giants such as AT&T and Comcast to end practices that prevent consumers from accessing Internet content deemed too bandwidth-intensive or from rival companies.

For his part, Reed was involved in the early development of Web technology including TCP/IP and User Datagram Protocol (UDP).

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"It's important to me personally that the Internet function as it has, in particular that it be free and open to innovation," Reed said. "No one organization gives you the Internet; it comes from all the companies that provide content, access, infrastructure and more importantly, all the users who choose to use new applications."

Although he did not mention them by name, Reed also took ISPs to task for trying to exert their own authority over the Internet.

"What we've seen in past five to 10 years are broadband, wireless entities trying to control the Internet in providing access," he said. "They've been trying to dictate terms about which applications are allowed under them. "They don't provide apps but they have control of users' choices and have put in barriers. The temptation [to control the Internet] is high because the money riding on this is very high."