100 Internet Companies Voice Opposition to Net Neutrality Rules

In a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, 100 Internet companies voiced opposition to proposed net neutrality rules that would allow big Internet service providers to charge online companies for faster delivery of their content.

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) all voiced opposition to the rules that are expected to be voted on next week.

The companies advocated for a “free and open internet,” suggesting the proposed rules could create an Internet where wealthier companies would have a distinct advantage over smaller online companies. The letter urged the FCC to “ensure that the Internet remains an open platform for speech and commerce so that America continues to lead the world in technology markets.”

The note expressed concern that new rules would enable phone and cable companies to impose fees on Internet companies. “The rules should provide certainty to all market participants and keep the costs of regulation low.”

In April, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said he planned to show a new set of Open Internet rules on May 15th. These rules would allow broadband providers to charge Internet companies for prioritization.

It is unclear whether the commission will vote in support of the new guidelines. Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democratic member of the FCC, has asked for the new proposal to be delayed.

The 2010 Open Internet order prevented broadband providers like Verizon and Comcast from putting web sites in an Internet “slow lane.” A federal court struck down much of the order  in January, calling into question the future of net neutrality.

“If net neutrality isn’t preserved, it will be like putting a muzzle on innovation while allowing only well funded companies to pay to play,” says Neil Doshi, analyst at CRT Capital.

Other companies who participated on the letter include Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY), LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) and Twitter (NYSE:TWTR).  “Such rules are essential for the future of the Internet,” they urged.