Steve Wozniak calls net neutrality a victory for the people

Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak attended today’s FCC vote on net neutrality and spoke with Bloomberg TV’s Peter Cook right after the ruling.

Wozniak said, “To me, more than anything else, this is a victory for the people, the consumers, the average Joes, against the suppliers who have all of the power and the wealth and make decisions for them and they feel hopeless and helpless. And here 4 million of us signed petitions. It’s an indication that the people can sometimes win. We’ve had a lot of defeats over the years, but once in a while we get a win.”

Bloomberg

Click here to watch the entire interview on Bloomberg Business. 

Wozniak on why he attended the FCC vote

“I follow my heart. I have only done this sort of thing twice before and the other time was in 2010 for the FCC meeting regarding net neutrality. The Internet was so beautiful when it first came—even when it was dial up, even when almost nobody had seen it—it was such an open and free expression form. Over time, it started getting closer and closer to getting clamped down. Decisions were being made by the ISPs, the gatekeepers you might call it, and do we trust them? Do we trust them to make decisions? No. We need some kind of supervision of their bad behavior. Are they likely to make deals and accept bribes to show us stuff? Everyone knows—accept a little money and you give somebody preference on their channel—that’s a bribe.”

On whether he’s confident that today’s ruling will ensure an open and free Internet

I hope it gets into things like broadband being declared a necessity and brought to everyone. 

“I think that it’s a big, positive step. I think that the other side is also for an open, free Internet in terms of net neutrality. The decision today goes a lot further than net neutrality. Title II regulation means oversight of bad behavior—not meddling, not controlling things, not making decisions, but looking for bad behavior. And there could be a lot of things that are illegal, that are unconstitutional and behind-the-scenes in a lot of these big ISPs and I think a lot of people don’t trust them that much. To me, more than anything else, this is a victory for the people, the consumers, the average Joes, against the suppliers who have all of the power and the wealth and make decisions for them and they feel hopeless and helpless. And here 4 million of us signed petitions. It’s an indication that the people can sometimes win. We’ve had a lot of defeats over the years, but once in a while we get a win.”

On whether today’s decision will make starting a company easier for entrepreneurs

“Yes, today it would. In the early days, the whole industry was growing and starting from nothing and everybody had room to scramble to get in. After a while, it condenses down to a few big players—the big 800 pound gorillas—and they do everything they can to stifle and not let the little guys have a chance to get in and the innovators on the outside. So I think it improves it, but slightly and only in restricted places. I hope that it gets into things like broadband being able to be declared a necessity and brought to everyone. There’s no big ISP that is going to bring broadband to my house. I live a short little Segway ride down a hill. When I go into town, I take a Segway down, not even a car, I am that close. And I don’t have broadband and I’m Silicon Valley and I don’t have broadband because I have no choice.”

This piece was originally featured on Bloomberg Business, and reposted with permission. 

Photo via campuspartycolombia/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)