Net Neutrality: Why Michigan Startups Need to Join the Fight for an Open Internet

The Internet has leveled the playing field and enabled entrepreneurs and startups to create a world that empowers ideas with global impact.  The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has recently released a ‘Net Neutrality’ proposal, aka authorized web-content discrimination.  In short, it would paralyze the growth of small businesses and enable big brands and deep pocketed companies to have an unfair advantage online.  Every politician in Washington knows that small business fuels 100% of the net job growth in the U.S. economy.  The fates of Michigan, and American, businesses are on the line.  It is critical for us to work with our colleagues in Congress to ensure an open Internet for every business and consumer.

Representative Gary Peters Supports Net Neutrality

Last week, Michigan Rep. Gary Peters (D-Detroit) made a strong statement in favor of robust net neutrality rules that would not only guarantee we keep open an Internet free for innovation, but also protect Michigan and American small businesses as they build new technologies online. The move comes towards the end of the first open comment period with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), to whom Peters addressed his comments on the issue, in which Chairman Tom Wheeler has been evaluating options for such rules. In the letter, Rep. Peters explicitly calls on Chairman Wheeler to consider all jurisdictional bases when making his decision, including authority granted him under Title II of the Telecommunications Act, which empowers him to reclassify the Internet as a public utility. Groups from across the country have praised such a plan, and Peters joins Internet entrepreneurs, large and small businesses, and prominent technologists and investors in making his statement.

Michigan Startups We Need to Join the Fight

Silicon Valley and New York startup ecosystems have been vocal in the fight for an Open Internet, the list of companies include:  Etsy, General Assembly, Code Academy, Y Combinator, Union Square Ventures and Kickstarter to name a few. I believe it is more critical for the growth of the Michigan’s startup community than any other market to have an ‘Open Internet’.

Call to Action

I am developing a list of Michigan Startups that support Net Neutrality that will be shared with our local congress.  Please inbox me at speak[at]hajjflemings[dot]com if you are interested in supporting.   I urge that we add our voice to the conversation and join the fight.

Open Disclosure

I am working with Engine a Silicon Valley based organization that supports the growth of technology entrepreneurship through economic research, policy analysis, and advocacy on local and national issues.

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