PROTECTING SMALL BUSINESS, PROMOTING ENTREPRENEURSHIP

The CRA to Resurrect Archaic Regulation of the Internet Will Harm Small Business

By at 16 May, 2018, 9:54 am

KEY VOTE: Vote NO on the CRA

Dear Member of the United States Senate:

One of the big myths being perpetrated to restore onerous, 1930s utility-style regulation of the internet through a congressional review act (CRA) resolution is that this package of innovation-smothering red tape is “good” for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Nothing could be further from the truth.

On behalf of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council) and our more than 100,000 members and supports nationwide, I urge you to oppose the CRA to overturn the “Restoring Internet Freedom” order.  SBE Council will KEY VOTE the CRA in its Ratings of the 115th Congress.

Legislation, Not Innovation-Smothering Regulation: First and foremost, if supporters pushing the CRA genuinely desire “net neutrality” rules for the internet, this can be enacted through legislation that embeds these key principals in law rather than imposing massive regulation and government control over the internet.  SBE Council strongly supports an open internet, and believes the ideal way to achieve this is through common-sense legislation rather than harsh, inappropriate and inflexible regulation that undermines innovation, investment, small ISPs, competition, and access to broadband. Legislation will provide needed certainty, which will enable a continuous flow of investment and innovation that is the fuel for a dynamic internet ecosystem, and a dynamic economy.

Of course, the internet did not break or explode as forewarned by “net neutrality” supporters once the FCC advanced its Restoring Internet Freedom order. The very next minute, next hour and next day America’s small businesses and entrepreneurs still had their internet, and exciting developments continue to occur, which are providing small businesses with new technologies, experiences and helpful tools.  Because of the Restoring Internet Freedom order, the negative trend in broadband investment is improving.  Robust and ongoing investment is needed to provide small businesses – and all consumers – access to better broadband and new tools to support startups and economic development in the areas of our country that need it most.

Big-Tech Gets an Advantage and Pass on Privacy Rules: Some of the big technology companies pushing the fallacy and need for Title II regulation are doing so because the resurrection of this misguided regulatory framework exempts the tech behemoths from privacy regulations and other rules being imposed on ISPs.  This is not fair, or smart.  A slew of costly and harmful rules and regulations would be imposed on ISPs – including the hundreds of smaller ISPs that provide internet and broadband access to rural and underserved areas of the country – while the biggest and most data-rich corporations escape any type of government oversight.

Small ISPs and Small Businesses Threatened and Unfairly Burdened: Overturning the Restoring Internet Freedom order will once again put small ISPs into a massive regulatory scheme that threatens their competitiveness and survival. For small ISPs, most of whom operate in more rural areas, the costs of these rules are real and substantial. Their customers will again be harmed as these small businesses will be forced to put off network investments and defer or stop the development of new features and services.  How is this good for rural Americans, economic development in these areas, or efforts to bring all of our citizens into the digital economy?

For good measure, small businesses within the telecommunications industry in general will lose out when investment and innovation suffer. According to the latest U.S. Census Bureau data (2015), 84.1 percent of employer firms in the telecommunications sector have less than 20 employees, 95.1 percent with less than 100 workers, and 98.3 percent less than 500 employees. It’s no surprise that small businesses suffer most, as study after study shows that burdens of government regulation fall far heavier on smaller businesses versus large firms.

Title II regulation advocates have always been searching for a problem to regulate.  There never has been one, and the internet did not blow up when the FCC advanced its Restoring Internet Freedom order.  Consumers and small businesses have come to enjoy tremendous advancements in the broadband arena because of a light-touch regulatory framework, and the investment that drives innovation.  Supporters of Title II regulation and restoring the 2015 rules only offer up baseless hypotheticals to justify extreme government regulation.

SBE Council urges you to support entrepreneurs and small business America by rejecting the CRA to overturn the Restoring Internet Freedom order.  Please feel free to contact SBE Council if you have questions. Thank you, in advance, for your support of entrepreneurs and small businesses.

Sincerely,

Karen Kerrigan, President & CEO

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