Internet, Social Media Leaders Push for Net Neutrality

Leaders at some of the world’s largest Internet companies are banding together to lobby in favor of net neutrality.

The group, which includes Google CEO Eric Schmidt, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter co-founder Evan Williams (full list of signatories below), sent a letter dated Monday to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski urging the FCC to “begin a process to adopt rules that preserve an open Internet.”

Proponents of net neutrality argue that new regulations are necessary to prevent broadband providers from selectively blocking or slowing the delivery of Web content and applications to users. Opponents of net neutrality claim new government rules and regulations would discourage infrastructure investment, hamper further Internet development and lead us down the road toward socialism.

The FCC is scheduled to vote on net neutrality regulations on Thursday. Following that, both sides will be able to weigh in on proposals before they would become adopted.

Here’s the bulk of what the Internet heavyweights, presenting themselves as the Open Internet Coalition, wrote:

For most of the Internet’s history, FCC rules have ensured that consumers have been able to choose the content and services they want over their Internet connections. Entrepreneurs, technologists, and venture capitalists have previously been able to develop new online products and services with the guarantee of neutral, nondiscriminatory access by users, which has fueled an unprecedented era of economic growth and creativity. Existing businesses have been able to leverage the power of the Internet to develop innovative product lines, reach new consumers, and create new ways of doing business.

An open Internet fuels a competitive and efficient marketplace, where consumers make the ultimate choices about which products succeed and which fail. This allows businesses of all sizes, from the smallest startup to larger corporations, to compete, yielding maximum economic growth and opportunity.

America’s leadership in the technology space has been due, in large part, to the open Internet. We applaud your leadership in initiating a process to develop rules to ensure that the qualities that have made the Internet so successful are protected.

(See list of other signatories on jump page.)

Here’s who else signed the letter:

Jeff Bezos, Founder & CEO,
James F. Geiger, Chairman & CEO, Cbeyond
Craig Newmark, Founder, Craigslist
Jay Adelson, CEO, Digg
Kevin Rose, Founder, Digg
John Donahoe, CEO, eBay
Charles E. Ergen, Chairman & CEO, EchoStar
Erik Blachford, Former CEO, Expedia
Caterina Fake, founder, Flickr
Barry Diller, Chairman & CEO, IAC
Reid Hoffman, Executive Chairman, Linkedin
Scott Heiferman, CEO & Co-founder, Meetup
John Lilly, CEO, Mozilla Corp.
David Ulevich, Founder, OpenDNS
Josh Silverman, CEO, Skype
Stan Glasgow, President & CEO, Sony Electronics
Thomas S. Rogers, President & CEO, TiVo
Gilles BianRoca, CEO, Vuze, Inc.
Carl J. Grivner, CEO, XO Communications
Steve Chen, Founder, YouTube
Mark Pincus, CEO, Zynga