On Saturday I spoke out to protect net neutrality at a press conference with Senator Maria Cantwell, Congresswoman Suzan DelBene, Michael Mattmiller, CTO, City of Seattle and Sarah Bird, the CEO of Moz. You can see the video of the press conference if you’d like to hear what we all shared. King5 also interviewed me for their news segment on the FCC taking away our net neutrality.
I’ll share my thoughts with you in our newsletter today and hope we don’t lose the internet as we know it through the FCC’s vote today. Here’s what I had to say on the topic:
An open and fair internet is good for competition and is crucial to present and future innovation. Eliminating net neutrality will harm consumers and create irreparable damage to our economy.
It is irresponsible and not in the public’s best interest for private corporations to have the power to decide how fast and slow content can travel on the internet. Allowing such behavior will clearly hurt information sharing, video streaming, downloads, and all aspects of online art and commerce.
This anti-competitive advantage gives the largest ISPs and companies the ability to favor its own content over competitors. At the same time, it removes the opportunity for consumers to leave an ISP for a better alternative if the ISP is taking advantage of the consumer.
According to Ars Technica, Comcast dropped the pledge on its website to never prioritize traffic on April 27, 2017 – the day after FCC Chairman Pai first announced his plans. So, the idea that ISPs won’t prioritize traffic is misguided.
We cannot trust corporate ISPs to not discriminate against the internet traffic of their competitors after giving them the explicit ability to do so.
Current regulations will repair any discriminatory issues, so what positive affect can come from eliminating this, aside from increasing the power and profits of a handful of companies?
If ISPs don’t want to prioritize traffic (or zero-rate), then why care about rules saying they can’t do that?
If we have a pay-to-play internet it will stagnate the birth of new small companies as well as limit an open civic discourse of information and thoughts. The only winners in eliminating net neutrality are the biggest ISPs. No one else will be able to create new business models or video streaming products.
An open and fair internet created the ability for thousands of the companies we love to be built and to grow into national and international household names. Some of these American companies that now serve millions of people include Moz, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Geekwire, Etsy, Zillow, Redfin, OfferUp, Cragislist, LinkedIn, Indeed, Zulily, Rover, and Meetup.
Other companies, which began as startups, that created new beneficial products led them to be acquired by larger companies.
Some local examples include Decide.com being acquired by eBay, Buuteeq being acquired by Priceline and Mowdo being acquired by Amazon. Without an open and fair internet, it can be argued that these companies would never have had the opportunity to survive, much less to become acquired.
Meetup, which was recently acquired by WeWork, is an example of a company that used the power of an open and fair internet to help people to find others with shared interests and bring them together offline.
With over 260,000 international Meetups, this one company has positively affected the lives, companies and communities of tens of millions of people.
The internet is the backbone of how Meetup helps people to meet, connect, and add value to their personal lives and contribute to their communities.
Additionally, many Meetup customers have built communities and companies, like I have with New Tech’s 30,000 members, that benefit people on local, national and international levels.
If Meetup tried to launch in 2018 under an internet that is not open and fair they would not have the resources to build any traction or hope to succeed in their mission.
An open and fair internet allows a low barrier of entry for innovators to build tools, platforms, and products to connect with audiences who can benefit from what they’re creating.
Eliminating Net Neutrality will be cutting off our nose to spite our faces. It will make the internet less accessible in relation to innovation, organization, community outreach, and growing American businesses that create jobs.