Over 800 Startups Tell FCC's Ajit Pai Not To Kill Net Neutrality

from the don't-be-foolish dept

As we noted yesterday, FCC Chair Ajit Pai has officially kicked off his plan to kill net neutrality — and unfortunately did so by spouting debunked myths and fantasies about how much damage net neutrality was causing for investment. As we pointed out that, that’s complete hogwash. If you actually looked at what telcos and ISPs were spending it showed no impact from the open internet rules. And, really, why should it have changed investment plans? As we’ve noted, the rules had basically no impact on ISPs unless those ISPs were looking to screw over consumers. And if it harmed those ISPs’ investment plans, that doesn’t seem like a very big loss. Otherwise, the open internet rules just provided clear “rules of the road” for ISPs to treat internet data fairly and to not screw over end users.

Either way, that’s not the only “investment” that Pai should be looking at. Because one of the other key aspects of having an open internet is the massive amount of investment that has resulted for companies that operate on the internet. Pai seems (bizarrely) exclusively focused on investment in the infrastructure (which, again, has not dropped despite his claims) and totally ignores all the investment layers above (which also helps funds the infrastructure). So, just as Pai is (wrongly) whining that net neutrality harmed investment, over 800 startups, from all 50 states, sent him a letter urging him not to get rid of the open internet rules (and, yes, we were among those who signed onto the letter).

This is important. Pai is making all sorts of misleading to nonsensical claims about the impact on the economy of the net neutrality rules, but in doing so he’s trying to ignore all of the business that’s created because the internet is kept open and free and the giant incumbent access providers are unable to favor their own services or throttle and stifle innovative upstarts. Pai talks a good game about how he wants the “democratization of entrepreneurship” thanks to a fast internet. That’s great. But if he kills off net neutrality we lose that. We get a system where each startup has to go begging and pleading to each access provider for a deal they probably can’t get or couldn’t afford even if they were able to. We’ve seen that world. It’s the world that existed on mobile phones in the early 2000s when the providers got to control (i.e., charge ridiculous sums for) who had access to their customers. That was not a good world to live in and it vastly limited the economic opportunities of the mobile world. It was only when smartphones broke away from the carriers’ control that things changed.

We shouldn’t move back towards that kind of world, yet that appears to be the clear end result of the plans that Pai is pushing. This is a mistake and over 800 startups are letting him know that. Pai may think he can ignore them all, but he should note that each of those companies has a lot of users, and it’s not difficult to ask them to speak up too. Pai is playing with fire if he thinks that the public won’t speak out about his attempts to kill off net neutrality and to harm the most innovative companies out there, in favor for the slow, lumbering duopolists who control the pipes.

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Comments on “Over 800 Startups Tell FCC's Ajit Pai Not To Kill Net Neutrality”

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Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Follow the Paymasters

And all together those 800 startups probably couldn’t come up with 1/10th the political contributions just one of the big companies pushing Pai in his current direction have already paid.

Like Willy Brown (former mayor of San Francisco) stated when facing a large group of protesters, “Do you vote? Do you? Do any of you? No? So why should I listen?” (paraphrased)

In Pai’s case it would be, did you contribute? Did you? Did any of you? So why should I listen?

Anonymous Coward says:

Actually if this argument is flipped so that the focus is on all the job loss instead of the big ISPs bottom line then you get more support from people with the funding sources to talk.
Trump despite all his flaws, wants to look like someone that cares about job growth. That is why when Lockheed Martin went to him about not cutting the project despite major mismanagement of funds, Trump started supporting them because they said look at all these jobs we created. If 800 start ups start showing how they are blocked from providing jobs because of Pai, Trump might just go a 180 on the FCC too.

But that will still require he doesn’t dismiss off-hand everything Obama did just because it is associated with Obama.

Dr. David T. Macknet (profile) says:

Simulate Throttling

I think it would be fairly simple to simulate a low-bandwidth connection to, say, every IP address that’s owned by a .gov connection. Just lock it all down to dial-up speeds. Nothing says that a company MUST serve things out as fast as the pipes will support (or else YouTube videos wouldn’t buffer). If we can get enough companies behind this, or enough which are regularly serving content to .gov domains, then we can put enough pressure to change Pai’s mind.

Sasparilla says:

Stunning is the open corruption here

It’s really stunning the blatant and open corruption on display here (as well as the GOP pushing through that FCC citizen privacy elimination bill a couple of weeks ago).

Its tough to think of someone else, besides Mr. Pai, who exemplifies a willing corrupted U.S. government official in a more obvious and shameless way. I remember growing up feeling sorry for the folks in corrupt banana republic’s…but we’re totally there, learning that governmental corruption is self reinforcing with Mr. Pai showing us how that works.

TruthHurts (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Made my position clear, and made Pai’s position clear depending on which way he votes.

If he votes for repeal, then he is in collusion with a handful of greedily corrupt corporations.
If he votes against repeal, then he is actually doing what the job he is in demands be done.

It’s time Ajit realizes that the FCC isn’t his personal playground to do what he wishes with impunity.

TruthHurts says:

Time for a Class action lawsuit against Ajit Pai

Since Ajit Pai is actively working against the department that he was placed in charge of, all protections that position might have granted him are null and void.

That means it is time to strike back against this egotistical piece of filth that thinks he can just walk in and do whatever he wants.

For all the damage that rolling back net neutrality will cause to every U.S. Citizen – hit him where it hurts. His wallet.

Sue him for everything he has, or will have, past, present, future until the day he dies.
That might cover 1/10th of 1 percent of the damage it will cause to the combined citizenry of this country.

When he gets hit with a lawsuit with 325+ million plaintiffs, imagine the pucker-factor that will have.

I imagine that there would be plenty of lawyers willing to step in gratis or even just for their share of the take to get him and his cronies to wake the fuck up.

Anonymous Coward says:


Just an FYI: there is apparently an effective astroturfing campaign in progress on the FCC’s commentary area for Net Neutrality. I won’t paste the whole stupid message, but this is how it begins:

“Obama’s Title II order has …” and it just goes downhill from there. Russian sock puppets and idiot trump supporters. Anyway, that will be Pai’s out, that there are an equal number of comments recommending removal of net neutrality rules.

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