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Argument: W/o Net Neutrality, price discrimination risks stifling start-ups

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Supporting quotations

"Net Neutrality is the Catalyst for Online Innovation." Save the Internet on Opposing Views.com.: "Net Neutrality rules once protected [the] free market. Without these rules, innovators are at the mercy of the network owners. We are stuck back in the Tony Soprano model, where building a new online business requires paying protection money to the boss.

Think about the repercussions of simply raising money from investors in a world without Net Neutrality. How many venture capitalists will embrace a business plan if the first line reads: “Strike a favorable deal with AT&T”? It is simply a non-starter for entrepreneurs.

Or assume that a new business does beat the odds and get a foothold in the online marketplace. What happens when it begins to compete with a service that is partially owned by the network operator? Will investors continue to sink money into a company with these kinds of market uncertainties?

This scenario is hardly hypothetical. Hardware manufacturers currently advertise routers that have the ability to investigate the packets flowing onto a network to determine the origin of the content or application. If the content comes from a “preferred” provider that has made a deal with the network, it is guaranteed quality of service. 9 If the content is from an unaffiliated source, the router can de-prioritize the content and degrade the service.

Network operators are already planning to manage bandwidth to maximize revenue streams through discriminatory deals with third-party providers. Comcast has already deployed a system to block video sharing services that could compete with it's primary cable business."


"Neutrality Encourages Innovation." Open Internet Coalition: "Too often, the discussion of why we need to protect the open Internet degenerates into a stale debate about regulation versus the free market. In fact, it’s impossible for innovation to continue apace without some basic rules of the road to protect that innovation.

Until 2005, net neutrality – a prohibition on Internet network operators from being able to decide what kind of applications could be used over the Internet, as long as they adhered to the standard Internet protocol that governs the way the ‘Net works -- was the law of the land. The open Internet was the principle leading the development of the Internet as the first open global communications network. And it helped drive the development of a host of Internet applications like Facebook, YouTube, and Skype. There would have been no motivation for the developers of these applications to have expended time, effort, and in some cases, their own financial security, in pursuit of their vision if they weren’t guaranteed their inventions would have been able to work over any Internet connection Unfortunately, thanks to aggressive lobbying by telephone and cable companies interested in leveraging control of their networks to squeeze additional revenue from users and Internet companies in pay –to-play pricing plans, the rules have changed. Broadband Internet now is denied the same neutrality protections of plain old telephone services.

When we experienced this policy u-turn, we were told that the impact of removing this protection would be non-existent. But over the last three years, activity by the broadband network operators has thrown doubt and uncertainty into the marketplace and cast a pall over continued innovation. Most recently, Comcast has used its power over their network to block certain peer–to-peer applications from operating properly."


"Opinion: Neutrality Protects Internet's Openness." AOL News. February 2010: "Companies such as Comcast, AT&T and Verizon want to change the way the Internet has always worked. By eliminating net neutrality, they would remove the Internet's most basic tenet: the freedom to innovate without asking permission.

This change would be a disaster for consumers and producers of Internet content. The egalitarian Internet is far too valuable and successful to be sacrificed to create uncertain streams of new revenue for a highly profitable phone and cable cartel."


"Openness is a Fundamental Principle of the Internet." Open Internet Coalition: "Internet Openness Drives Innovation and Economic Growth. The Internet is an open platform where everyone can innovate and compete. New entrants and established players can reach Internet users on an equal footing. Even the smallest entrepreneur with an Internet connection can make new applications and content available to everyone else. This has resulted in an unprecedented and historic creation of new jobs and growth."


"Letter from Technology Investors to FCC Chairman Genachowski Supporting Open Internet Rules." October 21, 2009: "We write to express our support for the Commission’s ongoing efforts to adopt rules to safeguard the open Internet. As business investors in technology companies, we have first-hand experience with the importance of a guaranteeing an open market for new applications and services on the Internet. Clear rules to protect and promote innovation at the edges of the Internet will reinforce the core principles that led to its extraordinary social and economic benefits. Open markets for Internet content will drive investment, entrepreneurship and innovation. For these reasons, Net Neutrality policy is pro-investment, pro-competition, and pro-consumer.

Permitting network operators to close network platforms or control the applications market by favoring certain kinds of content would endanger innovation and investment in an investment sector which represents many billions of dollars in economic activity. The Commission is absolutely correct to propose clear rules that require competition. The promise of permanently securing an open Internet will deliver consumers and innovators a perfect free market that drives investment, job creation, and consumer welfare. These principles should apply across all Internet access networks, wired or wireless.

Investment and innovation at the edge of the network will create not just jobs but also new tools and opportunities for communication, education, health care, business, and every other human endeavor."

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