WASHINGTON, DC—Next week, on May 15, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) will officially propose rules regarding the Open Internet. According to press reports and FCC briefings, the rules would authorize phone and cable ISPs to create a two-tiered internet of slow lanes and fast lanes and to charge web companies for access to the “fast lanes,” transforming the internet’s current level playing field and threatening innovation and entrepreneurship.
Today, a broad cross-section of over a hundred Internet companies and innovators filed a letter calling on the FCC to abandon its apparent path and instead to protect and preserve an open, equal internet. The signers -- a diverse group including tiny start-ups, household names, and industry giants -- called for Open Internet Rules that afford companies and entrepreneurs strong protections against online discrimination and individualized bargaining.
Engine Advocacy and New America’s Open Technology Institute, two long-time supporters of Open Internet policies who both helped organize the effort, issued statements following the groups’ filing of the letter.
Julie Samuels, Executive Director of Engine Advocacy, issued the following statement:
"Young, high-tech firms have represented all net new job growth in this country for the last thirty years. It is these startups that drive our economic prosperity, create jobs, and improve our lives. Yet these companies stand to suffer the most when faced with uncertain, discriminatory rules that threaten the Open Internet. Startups are often unable to compete at scale to overcome, negotiate with, and manage thousands of discriminatory carriers and networks. Young, high-tech firms must rely on the certainty of non-discriminatory rules to continue to grow, create jobs, and build new technologies. This is why we urge the FCC to protect the Open Internet.”
Alan Davidson, Director of the Open Technology Institute and Vice President at New America, issued the following statement:
“Today’s message is clear: An open Internet is essential for innovation and expression online. This letter represents the collective voice of the world’s strongest innovators and demonstrates a shared commitment to meaningful network neutrality. As the letter argues, broadband communication without discrimination is essential to the success of the Internet economy. The Internet works best when consumers control what they say and do on the connections that they pay for, and the FCC’s rules should protect those connections from discriminatory interference.”