Small businesses mount massive push for net neutrality ahead of Senate vote
It’s national Small Business Week, and business owners across the country are calling on lawmakers to support a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to restore net neutrality.
Nearly 6,000 businesses, ranging from construction companies to chiropractors to tech startups, have signed on to the open letter at BusinessesForNetNeutrality.com. Today, small business owners and net neutrality supporters hand delivered the letter to congressional offices across the country.
Net neutrality supporters also crowdfunded billboards and full page newspaper ads in key states highlighting the concerns of small business owners. Recent polls show that the majority of business owners are concerned that the repeal of net neutrality rules will harm their business. They’re planning a massive Red Alert for Net Neutrality online push beginning May 9.
The nearly 6,000 businesses that signed the letter represent nearly every industry including veterinary offices, graphic design shops, restaurants, medical startups, music venues, attorneys, tutoring services, chiropractors, engineering firms, and an amusement park machine supplier.
The nationwide push was upported by a range of groups representing startups and small businesses including the American Sustainable Business Council, Etsy, Patreon, Engine Advocacy, Main Street Alliance, Good Business Colorado, and Small Business Majority, along with groups like Fight for the Future, Demand Progress, and Color of Change.
“The loss of net neutrality will hurt all small businesses, not just high tech ones like those I work with,” said Chris Reade President and CEO of Lookfar in New Orleans, LA, “Without these basic protections, businesses that put food on the table for hard working Americans won’t be able to compete with big corporate giants.”
“My small business has been able to grow in part because of net neutrality. Strong rules have ensured people can find me and shop my online store,” said Mickki Langston, owner of Tellicherry Trading Company, maker of skincare products in Denver, CO. “Small businesses like mine will be hit the hardest if Internet service providers decide to charge us new fees to reach customers. Everyone in Washington says they support small businesses. I want them to show us that they support small businesses by supporting the CRA.”
“Our small Alaska-based technology business depends on affordable access to an open, neutral Internet to deliver training, software updates and data to customers around the state,“ said Julie Olsen, President of OfficeTECH, Inc. in Anchorage, AK. “We need lawmakers to just say “NO” to deep pocketed ISPs plans for fast lanes online and, instead, vote to protect Alaskan businesses and their employees by supporting the CRA resolution to overturn the FCC’s repeal and put strong net neutrality protections back in place.
“When senators vote on the resolution to restore net neutrality this month, they’ll face a stark choice. They can use their power to back the ability of monopolistic telecoms to block and slow traffic online for their own profit, in a manner that will strangle small businesses. Or they can stand with Main Street and the small companies that are the lifeblood of their communities.” said David Segal, Executive Director of Demand Progress.“Net neutrality is about free expression — but it’s also about people’s bottom lines, their jobs, and their abilities to provide for their families. Without an open internet that allows them to compete and to reach customers online, small businesses will fold. Any senator who votes against the net neutrality CRA resolution is voting against the small businesses in their communities.”
“Almost everyone who works at Fight for the Future has run a small business at one time in our lives, and we’ve connected with thousands of them through the massive online protests we’ve organized,” said Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future, who helped coordinate the letter, “without net neutrality, the largest companies will become even more dominant, while family-owned businesses, innovative startups, small shops, and freelancers will be squeezed out. It’s a tax on the entire economy for the benefit of a few giant telecom companies.”
Here are some more images from today: