The FCC just unveiled rules to dismantle net neutrality policies, undermining free speech and the way we access the Internet. They plan to vote December 14th to remove all protections on how our Internet Service Providers allow us to access the Internet.
There’s still time to stop them from undermining your access to a free and open internet! Contact Congress now to demand they stop the FCC vote.
Net Neutrality’s Importance for Entrepreneurs & Startups
As the CEO and founder of Namecheap, I care about net neutrality rules. Not just for business reasons, but also because Namecheap’s core customers are small businesses and new entrepreneurs—people who will feel the impact the most if net neutrality rules are reversed.
Net neutrality rules protect the Internet from companies like AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast who, without net neutrality, will be able to:
- Censor and block websites, apps, and services for any reason without transparency or accountability
- Charge Internet users extra fees just to access sites or streaming services
- Demand payments from small businesses, video creators, musicians, and online services just to reach an audience
- Slow Internet speeds to a crawl on any platform that doesn’t pay up
I started Namecheap in 2000 because buying a domain name was exorbitantly expensive, and I saw a clear gap to help anyone buy a domain name and start a website. We helped users break through the bureaucracy and domain name monopoly, making things easier for people to get online and start a business of their own.
Today, Namecheap hosts more than 8.1 Million domains, most of which are owned by start-ups.
Importance of Net Neutrality for Website Owners
The ability for anyone to start a business and have their voices heard is being threatened by the FCC to free broadband providers like Comcast and AT&T from basic consumer protection laws.
This is not a theoretical concern: In 2012, Verizon sued to overturn earlier open Internet rules, saying it should have the right to charge Google or any company to reach users. That upends how the Internet has worked since its inception, where users like you and I pay Verizon or Comcast so that we can reach any site on the Internet. Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast now want to get paid on both sides.
That may not matter much to big companies like Google, Netflix, and Facebook that can easily afford to pay the toll. But smaller sites—like the many sites Namecheap hosts—will be forced to pay more, even if they can’t afford to. As a hosting provider, we already pay to connect many sites to the greater Internet. But if the FCC gets its way, we could be subject to those fees from every large broadband provider. That means our individual customers would have to decide whether to pay more to be heard or choose to drop out of the most democratic communications network ever created.
We’ve seen what happens when the breadth of content gets narrowed—a closed Internet environment compared to the broader Internet where so you are free to search out info and find many sides of a story.
Broadband companies should not make it harder to get to content that might make you change your mind. That’s dangerous. Content needs to be served neutrally, and broadband companies have a responsibility to that.
Americans fought hard for strong, open Internet rules with no blocking, throttling or paid fast lanes. These rules were rooted in a strong legal foundation known as Title II. Broadband providers tried overturning those in court, and for the first time, the courts fully upheld the rules.
Still not sure? Check out this video from Fight For the Future:
Our Democracy Can’t Afford to Go Backwards
The FCC doesn’t operate in a political vacuum. It’s vitally important that you let your Senators and Congressional representatives know that strong, enforceable net neutrality rules are vital to free speech and entrepreneurship and that those values take precedence over corporations boosting their already healthy profits.
The vote is coming up any day now, so time is of the essence.
If you value an open Internet and support small businesses and entrepreneurs please call or write your local lawmakers today. Let them know that open Internet rules need to stay.