Nearly 20 Louisiana-based businesses signed a letter calling on Kennedy to support resolution to block FCC repeal of open Internet protections
Louisiana businesses are expressing anger and frustration after Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) announced the introduction of anti-net neutrality legislation that would legalize Internet fast lanes and new fees, and prevent states from enacting their own open Internet protections, which are essential for startups and small businesses that drive the states economy.
Nearly twenty Louisiana-based small businesses signed an open letter, along with more than 500 other businesses across the US, calling on Senator Kennedy and other lawmakers to support a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to overturn the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality and restore rules that prevent Internet providers from imposing new fees, throttling apps and websites, or blocking online content.
"Users and businesses need certainty that they will not be blocked, throttled or charged extra fees by Internet service providers. We cannot afford to be left unprotected while Congress deliberates," the letter reads. Louisiana businesses signing include Anntoine Marketing + Design, Concurrent Processing Inc, CotingaSoft, EPK Louisiana, Lookfar, inDEPTH Media, Intuitiv Designs, Made in the Shade Blinds and More, New Orleans Secrets Tours, and The Parlor. See the full list here.
"It is unfortunate that Senator Kennedy has come out on the side of large, out of state companies instead of on the side of Louisiana-based small businesses and individuals," Chris Reade, President and CEO of New Orleans startup studio Lookfar, "I certainly hope he realizes that he’s siding with taking away people’s freedom and decides to support the CRA."
"Net Neutrality keeps us from being punished in a pay-to-play system that hurts new and creative businesses. This issue isn’t about politics or party lines, it’s about preserving the democratic nature of the internet, said Greg Tilton, Co-Founder of inDEPTH Media, "If Senator Kennedy really cares about listening to constituents he’ll drop his bill and support the CRA to restore net neutrality as soon as possible."
Senator Kennedy’s proposed bill is a companion to a widely criticized bill introduced by Rep Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), which is not a "compromise" or even a "weak net neutrality bill," but rather a bill that destroys the core principles of net neutrality while claiming to save it. Unlike the CRA, which would restore net neutrality protections for small businesses, this bill would:
- Legalize paid prioritization, opening the floodgates for ISPs to charge new fees and discriminate between online content
- Kneecap the FCC’s ability to prevent abuse from ISP monopolies, and
- Prevent states from enacting their own net neutrality rules (like the ones Washington and Oregon just passed and dozens of other states are considering.)
Senator Kennedy has told Politico that he is still considering support for the CRA resolution, despite the introduction of this bill. Small businesses in his state, and millions of Internet users across the country, are hoping he will withdraw his legislation and instead commit to voting for the CRA, which would ensure protection from ISP abuses while Congress deliberates.