by Lukasz Lysakowski
Supporting #NetNeutrality = Supporting Designers and the Startups They Create
I believe in Net Neutrality, and I wrote a brief email to the Federal Communication Commission on why access to broadband has shaped my design career. Here’s what my email said:
Hello, my name is Lukasz Lysakowski, a designer living and working in San Francisco. I support Net Neutrality as internet access has allowed me to create a career. I am a designer of online apps, products, and websites.
I started my education as a Bachelor of Arts major in the field of media productions at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. At UNC-G I had the opportunity to take design classes in the new digital Media & Design program. Digital design and the internet were in their infancy.
Tied in with the design program was the introduction to the high-speed internet. No more dial-up services, BBS boards, and AOL, this was broadband. For me the access to a high-speed internet and web was revolutionary. I quickly learned how to build and design websites. At that point the best way to learn how to make sites was to use a browser’s “view-source” feature. “View-source” was also an original feature as it allowed any user to view and copy the underlying code of any website. I was able to take the site code without any hindrance and modify it to learn how to create my own work.
This access to a fast network and the underlying code behind any website allowed me to build the my foundation as an online designer. Of course, I was in a privileged position as I had access to a high-speed internet at an American University system.
After I graduated from UNC-G, I was able to jump into the field of web design at the start of the dot-com boom. The commercial web at that time was free-form without frameworks, rules, and systems. Designers and developers were hired to experiment and figure out the web. The internet quickly evolved, and it became accessible to the general public. Online browsing and interaction became part of the daily fabric of commerce, news, and entertainment.
For the web to be accessible for general use, it also had to standardize its form and function. Luckily, The Web Standards Project (WaSP) was a community of designers and developers that persuaded Microsoft and Netscape to upgrade their browsers to support W3C web standards. W3C standards compose the code of websites. These standards are set by a committee of companies, organizations, and individuals that promote equal web standard. WasP also demonstrated that passionate individuals can push the web to be developed to be formed on a free and open standard.
As a designer practicing for many years, I took part in the push of the web from a medium defined of static marketing static web pages to a dynamic online software platform. This same evolution of the internet also gave rise to the startup.
Technology startups accelerated the expansion of computation into all aspects of daily life and commerce by being free to experiment with new ideas. Startups have also benefited by having equal access to the internet. Startups are free to concentrate on the execution while not being worried about if they were going to be unfairly penalized by delivery.
We are still in the infancy of the web. We are just starting to see AR, VR, and mixed-reality take off. This field plus many other new technology fields will need access to even fast(er) networks and more data delivery. Incumbent technology companies plus startups will be racing with each other to develop the new ideas. Startups to challenge and progress the status quo will need the critical access to an equal and fair playing field.
In short: Net neutrality is vital to making sure that we maintain equal and fair access to all Americans to knowledge and information on the internet. Net neutrality supports America’s entrepreneurs and is vital to accelerating our economy to the next level of growth.
If you read this post and feel inspired, please email the FCC Commissioners at:
Ajit Pai, Chairman
Mignon Clyburn, Commissioner
Michael O’Rielly, Commissioner
Brendan Carr, Commissioner
Jessica Rosenworcel, Commissioner
Fight for the Future is a great starting point to learn how to champion Net Neutrality.
Fight for the Future, defending our basic rights and freedoms
Fight for the Future is dedicated to protecting and expanding the Internet's transformative power in our lives by…www.fightforthefuture.org
FCC Commissioner Clyburn has put together a fact sheet summarizing how Net Neutrality benefits consumers and businesses alike.