FCC Chairman Sets New Internet Rules in Motion; Startups Protest
In news that will come as a blow to Internet fans everywhere, Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai announced the details of his plan regarding the repeal of existing net neutrality rules. Calling them “an aberration,” Pai said that the rules were outdated — the original law was drafted in 1934 an aimed at regulating telephone companies — and that he soon would come with measures that would replace the existing ones. In response, representatives of over 800 startups signed a letter of protest against Pai’s new measures.
Unlike an earlier letter sent out to the FCC by tech giants such as Google and Facebook, the one signed by the startups was a great deal more strident: in it, they claim that big telecom companies could “pick the winners and losers” within the market by throttling the bandwidth of companies unable to pay for premium access, companies not unlike most startups. By allowing large corporations to dictate the flow of Internet traffic like Pai is suggesting, the letter says, he is impeding entrepreneurs’ ability to make something of themselves in the market.
It is likely that the signatories have a good point there: the monopolistic tendencies of the U.S. largest telecom companies are well known and it is likely they would demand high prices from companies seeking to establish an Internet presence. As this is pretty much a requirement for business these days, it could be that America’s start-up scene would suffer badly if Pai’s plans are carried out.
The United States could very well lose its position of pre-eminence when it comes to all things technology if net neutrality is lifted, simply because fewer companies will be able to start up, while similar businesses overseas would be able to operate without any restrictions on their bandwidth. Time can only tell, but it may be that Pai is signing the death warrant on a generation’s business opportunities.
Fergus has been tinkering with computers since he was a kid and likes to put a stop to parties by listing the specs of all the digital devices in the room. It's best not to let him near your computer since he'll take it apart and may not put it back together again before he leaves.