Learn more at http://www.engine.is/startups-for-net-neutrality
Just hours after the letter was sent, Chairman Pai announced plans to undermine the net neutrality rules that the startup community fought so hard to put in place in 2015.
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During your tour, you noted that "High-speed Internet access, or broadband, is giving rise to what I have called the democratization of entrepreneurship. With a powerful plan and a digital connection, you can raise capital, start a business, immediately reach a worldwide customer base, and disrupt an entire industry." We couldn’t agree more. Each of our businesses is an example of the sort of innovation and investment that meaningful broadband access has fueled.
But the success of America’s startup ecosystem depends on more than improved broadband speeds. We also depend on an open Internet—including enforceable net neutrality rules that ensure big cable companies can’t discriminate against people like us. We’re deeply concerned with your intention to undo the existing legal framework.
Without net neutrality, the incumbents who provide access to the Internet would be able to pick winners or losers in the market. They could impede traffic from our services in order to favor their own services or established competitors. Or they could impose new tolls on us, inhibiting consumer choice. Those actions directly impede an entrepreneur’s ability to “start a business, immediately reach a worldwide customer base, and disrupt an entire industry.” Our companies should be able to compete with incumbents on the quality of our products and services, not our capacity to pay tolls to Internet access providers.
Fortunately, in 2015 the Federal Communications Commission put in place light touch net neutrality rules that not only prohibit certain harmful practices, but also allow the Commission to develop and enforce rules to address new forms of discrimination. We are concerned by reports that you would replace this system with a set of minimum voluntary commitments, which would give a green light for Internet access providers to discriminate in unforeseen ways.
Rather than dismantling regulations that allow the startup ecosystem to thrive, we urge you to focus instead on policies that would promote a stronger internet for everyone. We applaud efforts to remove unnecessary barriers to construction of new networks, which would foster increased competition and faster, more affordable, open Internet access. We appreciate your consideration and stand at the ready to provide insights that support this work.