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Businesses Praise Senators Markey’s and Schumer’s Action to Preserve Net Neutrality

For Immediate Release: 
May 9, 2018

ASBC Contact: Bob Keener, 617-610-6766, bkeener@asbcouncil.org
Engine Contact: Evan Engstrom, 415-570-4455, evan@engine.is
Main Street Alliance Contact: Angela Simaan, angela@mainstreetalliance.org
Small Business Majority Contact: Simon Brown, 202-535-3229, sbrown@smallbusinessmajority.org

Washington, DC – In advance of today’s expected U.S. Senate discharge petition to reverse the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of net neutrality protections, businesses and business groups released statements supporting net neutrality and the action by Senators Markey and Schumer.

The American Sustainable Business Council, Engine, Main Street Alliance, Small Business Majority, Etsy, and others are releasing a co-sponsored business sign-on statement that has collected nearly 6,000 signatures of support of the Senate action to restore net neutrality. Additionally, ASBC, MSA, SBM are releasing a separate letter in support of net neutrality signed by nearly 250 member businesses.

Scientific polling commissioned by Small Business Majority found that 56% of small business owners oppose the FCC’s 2017 repeal of its 2015 Open Internet Order that established net neutrality protections.

American Sustainable Business Council’s President and Co-founder David Levine said, “Only the very few companies that sell internet access stand to benefit from the repeal of net neutrality. The rest of businesses are at risk. We know that unencumbered connectivity is a key engine of business productivity, innovation, and growth. We heartily endorse Senate action to preserve the principle of net neutrality, a key foundation of free enterprise in the United States.”

John Arensmeyer, Small Business Majority Founder & CEO said, “Entrepreneurs depend on an open and fast internet to process orders and market products, so it's no surprise the majority of small business owners oppose the end of net neutrality. In the absence of net neutrality, small businesses will find it hard to compete with corporations that have the resources to ensure their websites are prioritized by internet service providers."

Amanda Ballantyne, National Director of Main Street Alliance said, "The internet is vital to doing business in this day and age, and small businesses and entrepreneurs rely on a fair, open Internet to start businesses and reach a broader base of customers. Without net neutrality regulations, there's nothing to stop big businesses like Verizon from charging Main Street exorbitant fees to do business online. In short, while only a few companies sell access to the Internet, nearly every business has to buy it - including those of Main Street Alliance. Eliminating the 2015 Open Internet protections would be a disaster for small businesses and consumers alike.”

Evan Engstrom, Executive Director of Engine said,"The open internet allows anyone with a great idea to cheaply and easily launch a business and reach a worldwide audience. If the FCC is allowed to proceed with its efforts to rescind net neutrality rules, the internet will become skewed towards large incumbents, making it much more difficult for the next generation of innovators to build companies and grow the economy.”

"As the owner of a cloud-based bookkeeping and tax prep firm, I depend on high quality, fast internet for the success of my business," said Elizabeth James, owner of Rincon Controller and Tax Services in Carpinteria, Calif. and a member of Small Business Majority's network. "My clients do as well. Dismantling net neutrality would be a blow to small businesses that already struggle to compete with larger corporations, and it could threaten free trade as well as America's place as a worldwide leader in entrepreneurship."

"Net neutrality is an important policy for ensuring a level playing field for the thousands of small businesses that build software on GitHub,” said Tal Niv, VP of Law & Policy for CA-based GitHub, a member of Engine.

“As the CEO of an online services company, I see the looming threats up close. ISPs have long wanted to charge extra fees and create pay-to-play fast lanes, but the FCC has always stopped them. Now our business and non-profit clients could face the prospect of having to pay ISPs just so their sites load properly. In the worst case, they might get stuck in a “slow lane” for lack of funds for the fast lane,” said Mac Clemmens, CEO of Digital Deployment, a CA-based web development company, and member of the American Sustainable Business Council.

The small business sign-on statement with nearly 6,000 signatures calls for Congress to reverse the FCC decision in December 2017 to repeal its own 2015 rule, which codified net neutrality protections. That statement and the list of signers may be found here: https://www.businessesfornetneutrality.com.

In addition, ASBC, MSA and SBM co-sponsored a separate business sign-on statement that calls on congress to restore net neutrality protections through any possible means. It says, in part, “Removing the 2015 standards undermines our free market economy by handing internet access providers immense power to steer businesses and customers one way or another.” That statement may be found here: netneutrality.asbcouncil.org.

The American Sustainable Business Council advocates for policy change and informs business owners and the public about the need and opportunities for building a vibrant, sustainable economy. Through its national member network it represents more than 250,000 businesses in a wide range of industries. www.asbcouncil.org

Engine supports the growth of technology entrepreneurship through economic research, policy analysis, and advocacy on local and national issues. Founded in 2011 to harness the political power of the startup and tech communities, Engine is a policy, advocacy, and research organization supporting startups as an engine for economic growth. Learn more at engine.is.

The Main Street Alliance works to provide small businesses a voice on the most pressing public policy issues across the nation. Our advocacy promotes vibrant businesses and healthy communities, and fosters leadership development of socially responsible business leaders. The Main Street Alliance national network formed in 2008 to give Main Street small business owners a new voice in the health care reform debate, and has since broadened its focus to work on a range of issues that matter to small businesses and local economies. Our growing network includes small business coalitions in over a dozen states. Alliance small business owners share a vision of public policies that work for business owners, our employees, and the communities we serve. www.mainstreetalliance.org

Small Business Majority was founded and is run by small business owners to ensure America’s entrepreneurs are a key part of an inclusive, equitable and diverse economy. We actively engage our network of more than 55,000 small business owners in support of public policy solutions and deliver information and resources to entrepreneurs that promote small business growth. Our extensive scientific polling, focus groups and economic research help us educate and inform policymakers, the media and other stakeholders about key issues impacting small businesses and freelancers. Learn more about us on our website and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.