Robin Chase: To Create Jobs, Keep Internet Open

by on Apr.05, 2011, under Uncategorized

(Original at Politico)

By: Robin Chase
April 5, 2011

Low barriers to market entry encourage innovation, entrepreneurship and job creation. High costs and bureaucracy stifle it.

So far, I bet every person, Republican and Democrat, is with me.

So what is the issue with the GOP’s call to overturn the Federal Communications Commission’s order that gives it power to regulate the Internet, and the Democrat’s fierce defense of it? Both in the name of innovation and job creation?

[. . .]

Zipcar would not exist without a free and open Internet. There would be no company with $186 million in 2010 revenues, no creation of 474 full-time jobs serving 540,000 members.

Our innovation was to make renting a car as easy as getting cash from an ATM. Open access to the Internet was central to Zipcar’s success.

It is only because of the ease, speed and zero marginal cost of finding, reserving and unlocking a car that any consumer would be willing to rent a vehicle for as little as an hour — or any company would be willing to offer it.

What is at stake with the FCC order is the government’s ability to protect and maintain low barriers to entry to the Internet. The FCC order is not about services that run on the Internet, like Google, Amazon, or Facebook. It is about maintaining low cost and open access to the Internet.

When I founded Zipcar in 2000, access to the Internet was protected by the Communications Act. Since 2005, guaranteed access to the Internet, at low cost, has been increasingly challenged.

[. . .]


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