Two weeks ago our General Counsel, David Pashman, headed down to Washington, DC to meet with members of the Federal Communications Commissions and weigh in on the current debate around the issue of net neutrality – the idea that all traffic on the internet should be treated equally. Pashman was accompanied by representatives from other NYC-based tech companies, Kickstarter and Tumblr, as well as the Executive Director of the NY Tech Meetup. Once he returned to Meetup HQ, Pashman sat down with this blog-happy-policy-novice to bring me up to speed. Here’s what I learned:
The present net neutrality debate stems from the FCC’s anticipated May 15th release of a new policy around the issue. Although the rules have yet to be officially released, the leaked proposal has piqued widespread concern in the tech community. The proposed rules would allow larger companies to pay a premium for faster internet service, leaving companies who can’t afford to pay in the “slow lane,” crippling their page-load times, and leaving frustrated consumers clicking ‘refresh.’
This policy puts startups at a decided disadvantage. Unable to pony up, startups will be impeded by slower internet speeds than their more established competitors. “We believe a free and open internet is imperative to foster tech entrepreneurship here in NY and in cities across the country,” Pashman said. “Net neutrality levels the playing field. In practice, the current proposal would stifle the development of exciting new technology.”
Meetup started as a startup. If rules like these had stood in our way in our early days, we may never have grown to be 15 million members strong. We believe that a company’s size, age, and financial clout should be irrelevant when it comes to the distribution of information. That’s why Meetup, alongside 150 other companies, stands for net neutrality.
If you’re passionate about this issue and want to make your voice heard, tell the FCC to stop the slow lane.
Pictured in photo left to right: Ali Kazemi (Associate General Counsel, Tumblr), Liba Rubenstein (Director of Outreach, Tumblr), Jessica Lawrence (Executive Director at NY Tech Meetup), Michal Rosenn (Deputy General Counsel at Kickstarter), David Pashman (General Counsel, Meetup), Julie Wood (Communications, Kickstarter).