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Monday, January 18, 2010

Internet Regulation will Cause Retraction in Investment and Hurt Small Business

On January 14, SBE Council filed comments regarding new Internet regulations being proposed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). SBE Council's President Karen Kerrigan wrote that the regulations would undermine investment, innovation and economic recovery. The proposed “net neutrality” regulations are “risky and unwarranted” wrote Kerrigan. She also asserted that such interference will work against the FCC’s priority of bringing broadband access to every American.

“SBE Council strongly believes ‘net neutrality’ regulations are a dangerous risk to the dynamism of the Internet, and will have unintended consequences for entrepreneurs who innovate within this space, and those who benefit from its use,” wrote Kerrigan in comments filed on behalf of the organization.

Access to broadband has been a critical development for small businesses. Still, many small firms and self-employed individuals do not have access to broadband, or have not yet adopted high-speed Internet services. That is why SBE Council is highly engaged in initiatives that support broadband investment and encourage adoption. Kerrigan believes the new regulations would hurt investment, and therefore deployment to those small businesses and communities without access.

“The U.S. economy will move more quickly to recovery if policy leaders and the private sector work together to advance pro-growth, pro-opportunity measures that bring the benefits of broadband to all Americans,” wrote Kerrigan in her comments.

According to Kerrigan, the proposed FCC Internet regulations are “dramatic, far-reaching and risky.”

She wrote: “In the face of overwhelming evidence that the telecommunications market is vibrant, competitive and succeeding, the FCC is embarking on a whimsical and costly regulatory track where no intrusion is necessary. There is no reason for the FCC to radically depart from the restraint that previous Commissions and Administrations have shown toward the Internet.”

Kerrigan wrote that “the competitive and innovative spirit driving Internet openness will be forever changed by new FCC regulation. Complex government rules and uncertainty will hurt investment. A government-driven market -- where regulation and industrial- policy politics rule decisions -- will harm innovation, entrepreneurship and consumer choice. It will also put small players in this industry at a competitive disadvantage.”

Kerrigan urged the FCC to maintain its “pro-investment model.” A radical departure from current policy, she argued, adds uncertainty and risk for investors.
Kerrigan urged the FCC to withdraw the proposed “open Internet” regulations, and instead focus on completing a collaborative “national broadband plan” that will help bring opportunity to more Americans and small businesses.

More than 12,000 comments have been filed in response to these proposed Internet regulations that will be developed by the FCC.

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