Shaheen Urges FCC Chairman Pai to Consider Importance of Net Neutrality Rules for Small Businesses

December 08, 2017

(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), the lead Democrat on the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship, led several of her colleagues in a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai, emphasizing the importance of net neutrality regulations to small business interests. The senators urged Chairman Pai to fully consider the impact of any regulatory changes on small businesses before voting on any changes. The other senators signing the letter include fellow Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee members Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL).

“In advance of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) upcoming vote on proposed changes to the existing net neutrality rules, we are writing to emphasize the importance of an open and free Internet to the nation’s small business community,” wrote the senators. “The structure of these crucial regulations must maintain a level digital playing field for businesses of all sizes and we implore the FCC to fully honor the unique challenges that small businesses face in an online market and reject changes that could disadvantage this important sector of our economy.” 

The senators continued, “The concept of a fair and open Internet prevents discriminatory practices that could favor larger companies online - like higher costs for faster delivery speeds or prioritization of provider content.  Small businesses are particularly dependent on high quality Internet services in order to increase their consumer base and expand their operations and are much less likely to have the resources to invest in this kind of ‘pay-to-play’ system… As the lynchpins of many local communities, small businesses deserve our support.”

The full text of the letter is available here.

Earlier this week, Senator Shaheen joined a letter led by Senator Hassan to Chairman Pai expressing concern over reports that bots filed hundreds of thousands of comments to the FCC during the net neutrality policymaking process and called on the Chairman to delay the planned December 14th vote to roll back net neutrality rules until an investigation of the state of the record is conducted.