The future of our open internet is at risk. Current developments within the European Union are opening doors for internet service providers (ISP’s) to make the internet less open and less free.
As startups for net neutrality we find the beauty of the internet in that everybody with a laptop and an internet connection can change the world. All great ideas get an equal chance at success because everyone can communicate to end users under the same conditions. This is guaranteed by the principle of net neutrality, because it ensures that all bits are treated equally. Limiting this principle will hurt the internet ecosystem and hinder the success of current and future starting companies. This will hinder the disruption, innovation and creation of new businesses and new jobs.
Where we thought net neutrality was saved in 2014 by the European Parliament it is now being compromised by the Council. So it is important that we act now. This is why we urgently ask the members of the European Parliament to guarantee a real open and free internet in the negotiations with the Commission and the Council. And we welcome every member of the international startup community to join us in promoting net neutrality.
It is necessary, because if a weak version wins, the new EU law will allow ISP’s to offer different kinds of networks instead of one open internet for everyone. Ziggo in The Netherlands already proposed a product where content providers are offered a premium network next to the ‘normal internet’. Last year Deutsche Telekom, which accounts for 60 percent of Germans broadband connections, proposed to impose download limits for its customers while exempting traffic generated by its own on demand service.
These examples show that ISP’s no longer want to treat all bits of digital information as equal. If we allow this, the level playing field for competing internet companies and new services will be destroyed. Big companies like Facebook, Google, can afford paying for access to the ‘fast lane’ or ‘premium internet’ and investment in this part of the infrastructure will rise. Startups and other small companies will have to do with the ‘regular’ internet. As a result, start-ups will have a harder time to reach end users. This is bad news for end users that want to explore new services. It will harm innovation in general and startups in particular. That is why the European parliament must turn down the proposal by the European Commission and the Council and vote for a real open and free internet as proposed by the S&D, ALDE and Green groups in the European Parliament.
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