PROTECTING SMALL BUSINESS, PROMOTING ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Letter to all U.S. House Members: “Save the Internet Act” will Do the Opposite – Vote NO on H.R. 1644

By at 8 April, 2019, 3:15 pm

Dear Member of the U.S. House of Representatives:

The broadband internet is flourishing, and small business owners continue to benefit from a contemporary regulatory structure that has encouraged entrepreneurs and private sector investment to produce innovative tools and services that are bringing us faster service, which has led to more efficient business growth. Much to the disappointment of those pushing intrusive regulation and utility-style control through Title II regulation, the internet did not explode or die when these unnecessary restrictions were lifted. In fact, the ecosystem is much healthier.

The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council) strongly opposes the “Save the Internet Act” (H.R. 1644), and we urge you to vote NO on this legislation. This bill is not entrepreneur or small business-friendly.  It is bad for innovation, investment, entrepreneurship and U.S. competitiveness.

First, there are “net neutrality” principles that Democrats and Republicans both agree upon – no blocking, no throttling, and no paid prioritization – but H.R. 1644 turns this bipartisan consensus into an ideological-partisan battle by imposing suffocating red tape and rules on the broadband internet. We’ve seen the end result time and again across industries when excessive government regulation gets involved – higher prices, stagnate innovation, and less competition.

Bipartisan legislation, rather than the regulatory-heavy H.R. 1644, will provide common sense rules and needed certainty, which will enable a continuous flow of investment and innovation that is the fuel for a dynamic internet ecosystem and economy.

Second, Big-Tech will receive a pass on privacy rules. Some of the big technology companies pushing for this excessive regulation are doing so because restoring this outdated framework exempts the tech behemoths from privacy regulation and other rules being imposed on ISPs.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.

Third, small ISPs and small businesses will be disproportionately burdened by the massive regulation imposed by H.R. 1644. The legislation essentially overturns the FCC’s “Restoring Internet Freedom” order, which means small ISPs will once again be thrown into a massive regulatory scheme that threatens their competitiveness and survivalFor small ISPs, most of whom operate in more rural and ex-urban areas of the country, the costs of these rules are substantial. Their customers will be harmed, as these small ISPs will be forced to put off network investments and defer or halt the development of new features and services.

It’s no surprise that small businesses suffer most, as study after study shows that the burdens of government regulation fall heavier on smaller versus large firms.

So, how is this good for rural America? For economic development in “forgotten” areas? Or efforts to bring all of our citizens into the digital economy? It is not.

Title II advocates have always been searching for a problem to regulate.  There is no market failure and – again – the internet did not “blow up” when the FCC advanced its “Restoring Internet Freedom” order.  Thankfully, entrepreneurs and small business owners are not duped by this mindless rhetoric.

Consumers and small businesses have come to enjoy tremendous advancements in the broadband arena because of a light-touch regulatory framework, along with the investment that drives innovation.  Supporters of Title II’s outworn extremeness only offer up baseless hypotheticals to justify inappropriate government regulation.

SBE Council urges you to support entrepreneurs and small businesses by opposing H.R. 1644. We urge you to be part of a sensible solution to pass legislation that fully protects an open internet and treats all players in this important ecosystem fairly.

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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