Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has waded into the net neutrality debate with an open letter calling for fair and equal internet access for all.
Woz's missive to the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is a deeply personal note detailing his belief that the 'net should be free and unrestricted.
He starts with the line, "I have always loved humour and laughter," before reminiscing about the time he started a Dial-A-Joke service, which allowed people to phone up and hear a wisecrack on demand.
He goes on to describe his frustration at being unable to get broadband, which is what "has happened without regulatory control".
Woz writes: "The early Internet was so accidental, it also was free and open in this sense. The Internet has become as important as anything man has ever created. But those freedoms are being chipped away. Please, I beg you, open your senses to the will of the people to keep the Internet as free as possible."
He wants to see ISPs rent out internet connections as if the customers "own those wires" and can do whatever they wish with them.
"I don't want to feel that whichever content supplier had the best government connections or paid the most money determined what I can watch and for how much. This is the monopolistic approach and not representative of a truly free market in the case of today's Internet," he continued.
Woz is a key member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which campaigns for free access to the internet.
However, Woz and co. face a long battle because companies who oppose net neutrality regulations are outspending supporters by a factor of three to one.
The FCC is considering whether to introduce new rules that could allow companies to pay for prioritised internet traffic, prompting warnings that the plans could create a two-tiered internet.
Woz added: "We have very few government agencies that the populace views as looking out for them, the people. The FCC is one of these agencies that is still wearing a white hat. Not only is current action on Net Neutrality one of the most important times ever for the FCC, it's probably the most momentous and watched action of any government agency in memorable times in terms of setting our perception of whether the government represents the wealthy powers or the average citizen, of whether the government is good or is bad." ®