The Demise of Net Neutrality Will Harm Innovation in America

Entrepreneurs are rightly concerned that large companies will spend heavily to dominate fast-lane access, making it harder for some startups, such as bandwidth-hungry mobile video companies, to challenge them. “Milliseconds of difference can leave you at a disadvantage when potential customers are evaluating your product,” explains Tom Lee, the head of policy at Mapbox, a location data platform for mobile and Web applications. Even the very biggest startups could suffer. In an IPO filing, Snap warned that weakening or ending net neutrality would hurt its business if ISPs limited access to it or favored its rivals. Young companies that pay up for higher speeds would have to pass those costs on to consumers, making it harder to compete with bigger players. Evan Engstrom of Engine, a startup advocacy group, and others are hoping Congress will take a stand. Politicians from both parties generally agree that consumers and young companies need to be protected from unfair practices by ISPs. Sen Susan Collins (R-Maine) and several colleagues from Maine have even publicly opposed the Federal Communications Commission’s plan. Other Republicans may take more persuading, but getting bipartisan agreement on a law that enshrines net neutrality would be the best way to protect consumers, and the startups that are the lifeblood of innovation.


The Demise of Net Neutrality Will Harm Innovation in America