Open letter to the FCC: Protect Net Neutrality!

We must keep the United States of America competitive in one of its promising¬†industries. We currently export technology, and if we don’t innovate, we’ll fall behind.

I understand Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, et al: they offer a commodity service, and have witnessed how faster & cheaper access is available around the world, so they wish to circumvent that occurring here for their shareholders. I assert more consumers and more shareholders will be negatively impacted by allowing those gatekeepers to become the proverbial “bouncers” to the web. Policy should not be their competitive advantage.

Having worked for internet companies for the last 16 years of my career, I’ve had a front row seat in both start ups and established internet companies. The scariest thing to continued innovation losing Net Neutrality. Consumers, internet companies, and their investors will all lose so a few internet service providers can gain. It’s worse than a Zero-Sum-Gain situation.

If telcos and cable companies can control the end user experience by degrading the speed in which a new start up has for consumers, that start up has almost no chance of gaining traction. Then the risk to start a new company to bring a new concept to consumers will be much larger, and the options to find investment will be a smaller pool.

When internet companies need to pay for faster lanes of service, or be¬†relegated to a congested slow lane, you’ll no longer see a Facebook, DropBox, Gilt, or any of the companies who have come on the scene to delight millions of users as quickly. It will slow down the pace of innovation by creating larger barriers to receive investment from Venture Capitalist, and dramatically lower valuations for any company who needs to access their consumers.

Please, Mr. Tom Wheeler and FCC Leadership, do not let the ISPs destroy consumer value from the web, and threaten a growing industry of internet based companies.

Sincerely,

James Keating