In April 2017, Friends Fiduciary and other investors with assets under management of over $190 billion filed comments with the Federal Communications Commission, expressing investor support for current rules that ensure an open internet. Recently proposed rules would change the legal classification of Internet service providers, removing provisions known as “Title II” that ensure that providers cannot block, reduce speeds, or make deals for faster speeds with certain sites.
Allowing the small group of companies who dominate the internet services sector to provide different levels of service to different entities will stifle innovation which has been so crucial to expanding the United States’ economy. There has been an increase in investment broadband Internet networks since Title II’s adoption in 2015, and changes to this rule would likely discourage initial public offerings by tech companies. Without Title II status, internet service providers (ISPs) could essentially make the internet “pay-to-play”, erecting a price barrier for smaller, innovative, emergent companies.
As an investor, Friends Fiduciary believes that an open, neutral internet is essential to harness the continued growth of and innovation in the tech industry. Read our comment letter here and the press release here.