On Cyber Monday, Twitter, Reddit, other companies urge FCC to keep net neutrality

On Cyber Monday, Twitter, Reddit, other companies urge FCC to keep net neutrality

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More than 200 companies including Twitter, Reddit, Square and Airbnb are urging FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to reconsider his plan to kill net neutrality.

In a letter made public on Cyber Monday, companies big and small presented the famous online shopping day as an example of why net neutrality — the equal treatment of all online traffic — is important.

The companies cited numbers that show how big e-commerce has become, with Americans spending billions of dollars online on Cyber Monday alone.

“Because of the open internet, a web developer can launch a business out of their own apartment, an aspiring fashion designer in Wyoming can sell clothes in Los Angeles, or a caterer can find new customers in their town,” the letter states. “Disastrously, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last week released a draft order that would end this open commerce by repealing the current net neutrality rules and eliminating the protections that keep the internet free and open for America’s businesses and consumers.”

The FCC is scheduled to vote Dec. 14 on Pai’s plan, which would roll back net neutrality regulations established under the Obama administration. The rules prohibit internet access providers from prioritizing certain content over others, and from establishing fast and slow lanes.

Pai — a Republican appointed chairman by President Trump — and other opponents of the current rules say they harm broadband investment and tech innovation, which proponents strongly deny.

For example, Santa Rosa-based ISP Sonic was one of the signatories of Monday’s letter. Its CEO recently responded to a question from this news organization about Pai’s statements that net neutrality rules, which classify broadband providers as telecom companies under Title II of the Communications Act,  keep smaller internet service providers from expanding or innovating.

“Sonic has continued to expand our fiber optic network and doesn’t see Title II classification as a barrier,” Dane Jasper said in an emailed statement last week. “However, it is true that a number of small ISPs have feared Title II because they’d have to stop throttling video and instead upgrade their networks to comply. That said, we still firmly believe that consumers should get the speed they pay for, no matter the source or type of content.” Read More