Amazon, Google, Reddit, Netflix, 4Chan, Dozens Others, Plead With FCC To Protect Net Neutrality

In perhaps the most motley crew (as opposed to Mötley Crüe) of tech and Internet companies ever assembled for a single cause, around 150 businesses representing everything from content and infrastructure to gaming, crowdfunding and 3-D printing have written the FCC to ask that it not completely screw up net neutrality.

The letter (full text below) is addressed to Chairman Tom Wheeler and his fellow FCC commissioners, though Wheeler is definitely the intended recipient, as it was his boneheaded idea to half-arse a second attempt at net neutrality by allowing so-called “fast lanes,” which would allow Internet service providers like Verizon to charge content companies a premium for faster and more reliable service to the end-user.

Chairman Wheeler maintains that his proposed neutrality rules would still be in the spirit of an unbiased Internet because they would prohibit ISPs from actively blocking or slowing down content. But that is only half the neutrality equation; the recently gutted FCC rules forbade giving anyone higher priority distribution of their data.

“According to recent news reports, the Commission intends to propose rules that would enable phone and cable Internet service providers to discriminate both technically and financially against Internet companies and to impose new tolls on them,” reads the letter. “If these reports are correct, this represents a grave threat to the Internet.”

The letter’s authors believe that neutrality rules “should protect users and Internet companies on both fixed and mobile platforms against blocking, discrimination, and paid prioritization, and should make the market for Internet services more transparent. The rules should provide certainty to all market participants and keep the costs of regulation low.”

It calls upon the FCC to “take the necessary steps to ensure that the Internet remains an open platform for speech and commerce so that America continues to lead the world in technology markets.”

While the letter isn’t exactly the most scathing takedown of fast lanes, one has to appreciate both its plainspoken, common-sense approach to the subject, and the sheer number of companies that have signed on.

Whether the FCC heeds these companies’ call, or those from concerned consumers, remains to be seen. We’ll know more next week when the full commission votes on how to proceed with the draft introduced by Chairman Wheeler.

Below is the full text of the letter, complete with list of signatories:

Dear Chairman Wheeler and Commissioners Clyburn, Rosenworcel, Pai, and O’Reilly:

We write to express our support for a free and open internet. Over the past twenty years, American innovators have created countless Internet-based applications, content offerings, and services that are used around the world. These innovations have created enormous value for Internet users, fueled economic growth, and made our Internet companies global leaders. The innovation we have seen to date happened in a world without discrimination. An open Internet has also been a platform for free speech and opportunity for billions of users.

The Commission’s long-standing commitment and actions undertaken to protect the open Internet are a central reason why the Internet remains an engine of entrepreneurship and economic growth.

According to recent news reports, the Commission intends to propose rules that would enable phone and cable Internet service providers to discriminate both technically and financially against Internet companies and to impose new tolls on them. If these reports are correct, this represents a grave threat to the Internet.

Instead of permitting individualized bargaining and discrimination, the Commission’s rules should protect users and Internet companies on both fixed and mobile platforms against blocking, discrim- ination, and paid prioritization, and should make the market for Internet services more transparent. The rules should provide certainty to all market participants and keep the costs of regulation low.

Such rules are essential for the future of the Internet. This Commission should take the necessary steps to ensure that the Internet remains an open platform for speech and commerce so that America continues to lead the world in technology markets.

Sincerely,

Amazon
Cogent
Dropbox
Ebay
Etsy
Facebook
Foursquare
Google
Kickstarter
Level 3
LinkedIn
Lyft
Microsoft
Netflix
Reddit
Tumblr
Twitter
Vonage Holdings Corp.
Yahoo! Inc.
Zynga
2600hz, Inc.
2redbeans
4chan
8×8, Inc.
Addy
AdviserDeck
Agile Learning Labs
Airdroids
AirHelp
AnalyticsMD
Appar
Apportable
AppRebates
Apptology
Assembly Made, Inc.
Authentise
Automattic/WordPress.com
BadgerMapping
Bitnami
BitTorrent
Blu Zone
CBeyond
Chirply
Clef
CloudFare
Codecademy
CodeCombat
CodeHS
CodeScience
Colourful Rebel
Contextly
Coursera
CrowdTilt
Cube, Co
dasData
Digg
Distinc.tt
DuckDuckGo
Duolingo
DynaOptics
Embedly
Fandor
Floor64
Flowroute
Flurry
Fonebook
Funeral Innovations
Gandi
General Assembly
Github
Grid
Handy Networks
Haystack.tv
Heavybit Industries
HelloSign
HeyZap
iFixit
iLost
Imgur
Instapaper
inXile Entertainment
Kaltura
LawGives
Leaflad
LendUp
Linearair
Linknovate
littleBits
Lucipher.net
MDDHosting LLC
Medium
Meetup
Meteor Development Group
Minds + Machines
Misk
MixRank
MobileWorks
Motionry
MozartMedical
Mozilla
NOTCOT Inc
O’Reilly Media
OfficeNinjas
Open Materials
Open Spectrum
OpenDNS
Opera Software ASA
PayTango
Pocket/ReaditLater
Poll Everywhere, Inc
Printrbot
Publitas.com
Rallyware
Recrout
Redbubble
Rewheel/Digital Fuel Monitor
Reylabs
Rogue Labs
Shapeways
Sidecar
Sift Science
Simpolaris
SketchDeck
Skytree
SlidePay, Inc
Socialscope
Solidoodle
SpiderOak
SpoonRocket
Spotfront
StackExchange
StartX
Stanford
Statwing
Tastemaker
The Next Web
Triggit
Tsumobi
Tucows
Twilio
UberConference
UltiMachine
Ustream
Vidmaker
Volary Foundation
Voys Telecom
Waxy
Worldly
Xola
Yanomo