Some Utah technology companies are concerned about net neutrality vote –

Some Utah technology companies are concerned about net neutrality vote


SALT LAKE CITY – While industry watchers expect the Obama network's neutrality rules to be rejected in a mid-December vote by the Federal Communications Commission, some technology companies in Utah are worried that the changes may lead to stifled innovation, competitive disadvantages and unfair restrictions on web browsing

Even so, some of the delegates from the Utah Congress remain firmly in favor of the changes proposed by Ajit Pai, president of the FCC, appointed by Trump.

The FCC Internet Freedom Restoration proposal has recently rumored and conjectured: it will return Internet regulations essentially to the same place they were before a 2015 change set reclbadified broadband service as a "telecommunication" function instead of an "information exchange" process.

This is significant, as the Title Clbadification II instituted in 2015 sees the Internet service more as a public utility and comes with a heavier set of regulatory requirements, including the restriction of service providers to accelerate, slow down or Block access to any website, content or applications.

Roger Timmerman, CEO of the Utah Telecommunication Open Infrastructure Agency and CEO of Utopia, said that the functionality of the internet since the modifications of 2015 has been positive for both consumers and innovation companies.

"In general, we oppose the repeal of the net neutrality rules and we feel that it has been a good thing for consumers and competition," said Timmerman. "The lack of net neutrality is a real problem, and we predict that if these rules are lifted it will take us to a 'walled garden' scenario, where providers can decide what is inside and what is not."

Sen. Mike Lee, a Republican from Utah, however, sees Pai's proposal as a positive move that will return the Internet to a pre-2015 state that he described as an "explosive source of growth and invention."

"Anyone who has followed the hyperbolic network neutrality debate has probably heard that the FCC moves to crush competition, limit consumer choice, increase prices and even destroy the internet," Lee said in the Senate in May. "But none of this is true, rather, the FCC is reviving the light-touch regulatory environment that facilitated innovation and expanded Internet access to millions of Americans over the course of a year. many years ".

The opposite opposition was made by a group of people whose livelihoods depend on the Internet in a letter sent to the FCC last week on Cyber ​​Monday. Signed by more than 200 Internet companies, including Twitter, Etsy, Pinterest and Authentise, based in Utah, the group promoted the $ 400 billion in online retail sales that occurred in 2016 and asked the commission to vote against of the proposed changes, writing that would lead to "eliminating the protections that keep the Internet free and open for American businesses and consumers."

"Without these rules, Internet service providers will be able to favor certain websites and e-businesses, or the platforms they use to attract new customers over others by putting those that can pay in fast lanes and slow down or even block others. " the letter. "Companies may have to pay a toll just to reach customers."

Authentic CEO Andre Wegner, whose Sandy-based company creates process automation software for three-dimensional printing, said he is concerned that the proposed changes will put his company in a competitive position. disadvantage.

"Right now, we're all on the same field level, but if that goes away, that's a really big problem," Wegner said. "If we can not promise an industrial strength internet service, we can not compete."

The newest member of the Utah Congress, Republican Representative John Curtis, supports the FCC proposal, but announced on Thursday that he will hold a series of City Hall meetings in person in the next month and a half, where he hopes to get input. of the constituents of the 3rd District.

"I support the principles of net neutrality, such as not blocking, limiting or prioritizing paid," Curtis said in a statement. "That said, I'm concerned that clumsy Internet regulation slows innovation and economic growth."

"As a member of Congress, I take my oversight responsibility very seriously and will follow the FCC's decision closely: doing network neutrality. In the end, I think Congress needs to take steps to modernize the statutes that govern the way the Internet is regulated. "

While your company is located just outside the Curtis district, the head of the real estate company Draper, Homie, said he believes that current Internet regulations are working well.

"The Internet is already free, open and transparent, and new companies like us are benefiting from it," said Homie's co-founder and CEO. , Johnny Hanna. "I have not heard any of my clbadmates complain. This proposal has a great name, but it seems to do the opposite. "

Sen. Orrin Hatch is aligned with his Republican colleagues Lee and Curtis in support of the FCC measure.

" Sen. Hatch strongly supports the order, "said his spokesman, Matt Whitlock. The Internet prospered under the lightweight regulatory approach before 2015. With a move away from clumsy regulation, the FCC ensures continued investment in innovation, essential infrastructure, and the content and services Americans depend on for a growing economy. "[19659002] The policy seems to play a role in the federal regulatory arena, and changes in the FCC's Internet regulations have not been immune.

In 2015, the new designation of Internet providers as Title II telecommunications companies it was approved by the five-member commission by a 3-2 vote on partisan lines that favored the Democrats at that time.The current composition under Pai's presidency favors the Republicans by the same margin and the majority awaits the new proposal to find support in another 3-2 division on December 14, when the Restoring Internet Freedom package is scheduled for a vote.

Timmerman, who is a Republican, said the new world of regulatory changes driven by the holidays does not augur well for consumers or businesses and, in the case of the current proposals of the FCC, the support of your party is not solid.

"It is unfortunate that it has become a partisan issue," said Timmermann. "I'm in the Central State Committee (GOP) and we're on the wrong side."

"People say this is Obamacare for the Internet, but that's absurd. He is using scare tactics, "he said." If you look at the FCC and what they do, they do not use wireless networks, they are a resource to investigate violations. "

Rep. Mia Love, Republican of Utah, refused to register support or opposition to the proposal, but instead noted its dissatisfaction with Internet regulation that falls under the jurisdiction of the FCC.

"The changes outlined in the order to restore the FCC's Internet freedom have the potential to affect the citizens of Utah, however, the FCC is ready to make those changes unilaterally, "Love said in a statement to Deseret News." Any change in Internet regulation should be legislated through Congress. "

To review the full text of the FCC Internet Freedom restoration proposal, visit: http: //transition.fcc .gov / Daily_Releases / Daily_Business / 2017 / db1122 / DOC-347927A1.pdf.

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