Today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to adopt a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to roll back the 2015 Open Internet Order and reverse the agency’s Title II classification of Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Today’s vote initiates an initial public comment period of 60 days.
The following statement can be attributed to Engine Executive Director Evan Engstrom:
“The NPRM adopted today, which is entitled ‘Restoring Internet Freedom,’ would do anything but that. Chairman Pai claims to support a free and open internet, but his proposal would completely undermine existing net neutrality protections and make it effectively impossible to enact strong net neutrality rules that prevent ISPs from impeding traffic, imposing new tolls, and discriminating in unforeseen ways.
“Title II gives the FCC the explicit authority to police ISP practices like blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization. As the court in Verizon v. FCC clearly established, reverting to a Title I framework would make these protections unenforceable. Considering this legal history, arguments that Title I authority can support strong net neutrality rules are misguided at best and purposefully deceptive at worst.
“Any effort to undermine existing net neutrality protections would greatly harm the startup ecosystem. Startup success depends on being able to compete on the quality of your ideas, not on your capacity to pay abusive tolls to ISPs. Net neutrality rules ensure that if you’re an innovator who has put in countless hours of work creating a new product or service, your new company won’t be put at a competitive disadvantage with respect to established incumbents companies that can afford to pay ISP access fees or priority charges. We’ve had more than 1,000 startups, innovators, investors, and entrepreneurial support organizations from all 50 states sign onto a letter supporting strong net neutrality rules, signaling just how important this issue is to our community.
“Two days ago, net neutrality champion and FCC Commissioner, Mignon Clyburn, noted that ‘Net neutrality is doomed if we’re silent.’ We must not remain silent. Now is the time for the startup community to galvanize around meaningful net neutrality protections. Add your company’s name to our letter. Weigh in with the FCC. Call and write your congressional representatives. Make sure that the voice of the startup ecosystem is heard, loud and clear.”