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The Honorable Ajit Pai
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street SW
Washington, DC 20554
August 30, 2017
Dear FCC Chairman Ajit Pai,
We are a group of businesses empowered by unencumbered access to an open Internet. We are deeply concerned with the Federal Communications Commission’s proposal to roll back its existing strong net neutrality rules based on Title II of the Communications Act. We urge you to maintain the existing rules instead.
Today, broadband is vital to American enterprise; connectivity is absolutely essential to businesses. We also depend on a strong competitive framework and legal foundation to ensure that Internet service providers (ISPs) cannot discriminate against websites, services, and apps, or impose new fees that harm small businesses.
The open Internet has made it possible for us to rely on a free market where each of us has the chance to bring our best business ideas to the world without interference or seeking permission from any gatekeeper first. This is possible because the principle of net neutrality ensures that everyone has unimpeded access to the Internet.
The Commission’s long-standing commitment and actions undertaken to protect the open Internet are a central reason why the Internet remains an engine of entrepreneurship and economic growth. We are deeply concerned that the proposed regulatory changes to net neutrality will undermine free markets and competition on the Internet. Despite assurances to the contrary, the changes proposed by the FCC would remove the only existing legal foundation strong enough to ensure net neutrality protections are enforceable: Title II of the Communications Act, as implemented in the agency’s 2015 Open Internet Order.
While only a small handful of companies sell Internet access, nearly every company in the country buys it – including ours. Weakening or rolling back the 2015 protections would be disastrous for the country’s business community.
Internet providers would gain new powers to steer businesses and customers one way or another. For example, our customers’ Internet access providers could charge us new fees for the right to get to our customers, or for prioritized access to our customers. While big companies might be able to afford a pay-to-play prioritized ‘fast lane’ to users, small and medium sized enterprises like ours cannot; at the very least, such new fees would put us at a distinct disadvantage with larger competitors. Internet access providers could also charge our customers new fees for access to our websites and services. And they could favor our competitors by slowing down our traffic or exempting our competitors’ traffic from users’ data caps, or they could block websites and apps outright. This would create immense uncertainty for companies in every sector of the economy who rely on open, unencumbered connectivity as a key enabler for their business and productivity.
While countries around the world embrace strong, common sense net neutrality protections, American businesses could be left behind. We urge you to maintain strong net neutrality rules and focus on policies that lower the barriers to the deployment of new networks, encouraging more competition in Internet access services.
Thank you for considering our views.
CC: Members of Congress