More than 800 startups ask FCC chair to not kill net neutrality

Today, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai released the broad strokes of his plan to abandon consumer protections to the benefit of large corporate players in the telecommunications industry.

While major telecom companies are looking forward to Pai’s FCC makeover, the same can’t be said for everyone else in tech. After Pai’s announcement, a group of more than 800 names in tech sent Pai a business-minded denouncement of his plans to strip away the rules that shape net neutrality.

For tech companies that aren’t telecom behemoths, the crux of the argument is this:

“… the success of America’s startup ecosystem depends on more than improved broadband speeds. We also depend on an open Internet—including enforceable net neutrality rules that ensure big cable companies can’t discriminate against people like us. We’re deeply concerned with your intention to undo the existing legal framework.

Without net neutrality, the incumbents who provide access to the Internet would be able to pick winners or losers in the market. They could impede traffic from our services in order to favor their own services or established competitors. Or they could impose new tolls on us, inhibiting consumer choice. Those actions directly impede an entrepreneur’s ability to “start a business, immediately reach a worldwide customer base, and disrupt an entire industry.” Our companies should be able to compete with incumbents on the quality of our products and services, not our capacity to pay tolls to Internet access providers.”

The letter, spearheaded by Y Combinator, Techstars and Engine represents a massive swath of tech’s net neutrality supporters, from investors and incubators to startups and code schools. The full letter is embedded below.