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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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Apr 2017 @ 2:51pm

    To think I did all that
    And may I say - not in a shy way
    Oh no, oh no, not me
    I did it Pai way

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Char, 27 Apr 2017 @ 3:13pm

    Dear John Oliver

    We need you to do another story about net neutrality. #lookingatNetflixnotdickpix

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    TheResidentSkeptic (profile), 27 Apr 2017 @ 3:22pm

    The problem

    Do those 800 contribute to campaign war chests?

    Are they part of the revolving door six figure salary club?

    Well, then the value of their input is ... lemme do the math here... Nuthin, Divided By Nuthin, Carry the Nuthin....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Atkray (profile), 27 Apr 2017 @ 3:28pm

      Re: The problem

      This.

      Unless someone with a personal connection to Trump tells the Donald this is bad and makes a convincing argument Pai is going to go full steam ahead.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 27 Apr 2017 @ 6:02pm

        Re: Re: The problem

        That is not how this works for obscure issues like Net Neutrality.

        If you're going to be cynics, do it silently. We don't need to hear your ego-stroking defeatism.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 27 Apr 2017 @ 3:23pm

    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?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Apr 2017 @ 5:20am

      Re: Follow the Paymasters

      He can ignore them, sure. But I hope he's got flood protection for his bought views, or they're going to get demolished.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Apr 2017 @ 3:24pm

    sure they asked him, but did they pay him? Cause I'm sure the other side did.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Apr 2017 @ 3:32pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Apr 2017 @ 4:38pm

      Re:

      They are not in Pais field. Pai is only worried about giving ISPs as good a business as possible.

      The "over 800" are merely internet company owners, investers and supporters. They are just misinformed and jealous at how amazing the law is!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Dr. David T. Macknet (profile), 27 Apr 2017 @ 3:42pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Apr 2017 @ 7:22pm

      Re: Simulate Throttling

      Considering how luddite most of the government is right now, they probably still won't care.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Apr 2017 @ 5:17pm

    1600 bitched about immigration. Cheap labor is more important than good access.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 27 Apr 2017 @ 6:02pm

      Re:

      1600 bitched about immigration. Cheap labor is more important than good access.

      No. 160 complained about immigration. 800 complained about net neutrality.

      Want to try again?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 27 Apr 2017 @ 7:04pm

    Mom's kitchen secrets

    As we pointed out that, that's complete hogwash.

    Hogwash is a major ingredient of Idjit Pie.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Apr 2017 @ 7:32pm

    Luddite is RIGHT!

    Look can we just give the copyright to that idiot that claims to have invented email and end the internet and go back to fucking dial-up please ? I'm sick of all this nonsense I want to go back to playing Drug wars or at least games that come on CD or something that is not instant stupid and maddness.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Apr 2017 @ 8:10pm

    This person is brought our legal bribery department from pending merger of At&T,Spectrum,Comcast,Verizon to bring us BMF cable.

    Big Mother Fucking Cable
    We own the Internet.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mr Big Content, 27 Apr 2017 @ 10:12pm

    Their Bussed In

    You can tell their paid protestors, brought in just to make a show, not genuine locals like teh Real supporters.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Sasparilla, 28 Apr 2017 @ 6:01am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      orbitalinsertion (profile), 28 Apr 2017 @ 9:49am

      Re: Stunning is the open corruption here

      We were impressed with the model we created in banana republics, so we thought we should try it here.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 28 Apr 2017 @ 9:14am

    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.

    Tough like picking out the prettiest cob from a corn field.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Thad, 28 Apr 2017 @ 10:53am

    FYI, the FCC Request for Public Comment is up (click "+ Express").

    Obviously Pai doesn't give a shit what the public actually thinks about this or he wouldn't be doing it in the first place, but it's still probably useful for creating a record to remind other politicians (Congress, Pai's successor, etc.) how we feel about this.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      TruthHurts (profile), 28 Apr 2017 @ 6:00pm

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    TruthHurts (profile), 28 Apr 2017 @ 5:45pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 May 2017 @ 6:21am

    Astroturfing

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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