Today, Engine released a letter signed by over 100 startups making clear that entrepreneurs and innovators fully support Title II reclassification to preserve an open Internet. Earlier this month, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler announced his plan to implement strong net neutrality rules. Fellow FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai—in a last ditch effort to argue against Title II reclassification—claimed in a press release that “small, independent businesses and entrepreneurs” did not support Title II. Startups from across the country, including Automattic, Dwolla, Etsy, Foursquare, Imgur, Kickstarter, Tumblr, and Yelp, wrote today to set the record straight.
Startup support for Title II and net neutrality is nothing new, as the letter notes: “Because net neutrality is such an important issue, the startup community has been engaged in the Commission’s Open Internet proceeding to an unprecedented degree. The clear, resounding message from our community has been that Title II with appropriate forbearance is the only path the FCC can take to protect the open Internet. Any claim that a net neutrality plan based in Title II would somehow burden ‘small, independent businesses and entrepreneurs with heavy-handed regulations that will push them out of the market’ is simply not true.”
These startups were built and thrived under a de facto net neutrality regime, and if the Internet economy is to continue its unparalleled growth, preserving an open playing field is crucial. Allowing ISPs to use their gatekeeper power to pick winners and losers on the Internet is the real threat to the continued viability of these startups, not a regulatory structure based in Title II.