April 26, 2017
Today, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai announced a plan to begin dismantling the Open Internet Order. The Order, adopted by the FCC in 2015 after robust public input by millions of Americans, established basic rules-of-the-road for internet service providers and ensured that net neutrality is the law of the land.
The following statement can be attributed to Joshua Stager, policy counsel at New America’s Open Technology Institute:
“This is a solution in search of a problem. The internet economy is doing quite well—investment is up, job growth is strong, and small businesses are innovating. Chairman Pai’s proposal throws all of that into disarray, creating the one thing we know businesses don’t like: uncertainty.
Without strong net neutrality protections, consumers and commerce are vulnerable. Venture capitalists will be disinclined to invest in new companies that depend on the internet to reach customers — which, in today’s market, is virtually every business. This is why hundreds of startups issued a letter today asking Pai to preserve the Open Internet Order.
Chairman Pai and his allies in Congress should listen to small businesses and leave the Open Internet Order alone.Furthermore, Chairman Pai was simply wrong when he said the internet wasn’t broken in 2015. In 2013 and 2014, the nation’s biggest ISPs—Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, and Time Warner Cable—allowed their networks to become critically congested. Millions of Americans were frustrated by degraded speeds and unusable video connections—and they didn’t know why it was happening. In reality, their ISP was playing a dangerous congestion game to extract new payments from transit networks and edge providers. American internet users were just the collateral damage. For these millions of people, the internet was very much ‘broken.’ The FCC’s rules addressed this problem.”