GeoCertify on Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality means no “fast lanes” on the Internet — providers cannot charge websites premium prices for “express” download speeds.

Under the current U. S. Administration, the FCC has removed Net Neutrality regulations.  Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can sell download speed to different websites at different prices.  Three companies lead the push for these changes:  Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast.

Along with the vast majority of Internet companies and users, GeoCertify disagrees with this change.  We support Net Neutrality.  Our position is:

a.)   No Value Added.  Nothing is gained by removing Net Neutrality.  When websites pay higher prices to large corporations for expedited delivery, or when providers accelerate their own content, no new value is created.  Money and advantage shift to large corporations, but fundamentally no value is created.  To our knowledge, none of the major opponents of Net Neutrality has argued for any tangible social value that would be achieved by eliminating Net Neutrality;

b.)  Value Lost.  The Internet has been a leading source of innovation and a key driver of the American economy.  As a nation, it’s important to understand strategic areas of economic growth and innovation; the U.S. faces rapidly expanding competition from countries around the world in developing Internet technology.  As China is learning to beam quantum-entangled photons 1000 kilometers through space to create next-generation Internet security, the U.S. is working to bring back coal.

As Internet entrepreneurs, GeoCertify’s ability to fund growth is directly affected by Net Neutrality or lack thereof.  50 leading venture capitalists who helped build the Internet economy explained this fundamental reality to the FCC:

“Entrepreneurs will need to raise money to buy fast lane services before they have proven that consumers want their product. Investors will extract more equity from entrepreneurs to compensate for the risk. …

Further, investors like us will be wary of investing … for fear [Internet Providers] will use the same technical infrastructure to advantage their own services or use network management as an excuse to disadvantage competitive offerings.  Policing this will be almost impossible (even using a standard of “commercial reasonableness”) and access providers do not need to successfully disadvantage their competition; they just need to create a credible threat so that investors like us will be less inclined to back those companies.”

Open Letter, May 8, 2014

The arguments paid for by Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast focus on fairness — Net Neutrality is unfair to them and so should be eliminated.  Basically, their argument rests on the idea that this would give them another tool for bundling content, so they can provide lower tier services at lower cost to consumers.  But it is through this mechanism they effectively wall off Internet content and bind their customers through discount rates.

What we have never seen from them is any argument on how eliminating Net Neutrality will make the U.S. stronger or more competitive in the global tech economy.

For these reasons, GeoCertify joins America’s technology industry in supporting Net Neutrality.

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