99designs was born in an era of open and equal access online. All it took to get started was a small, passionate team and a single web server. There was no need to negotiate patronage from the big players in the ISP space—we paid our hosting bills and customers were free to choose between us and any of our competitors as they liked.
We knew we could compete on merit. There were no backroom deals for internet users to get faster access to us or our competitors. We were free of the fear that an ISP would decide to start a competing service and make it impossible for customers to access our website. All we had to do was make the best product we could and let it speak for itself.
If the US Congress succeeds in gutting net neutrality protections—as it has promised to do—new businesses would not be so lucky.
At 99designs we believe in equality of access and opportunities for everyone. The ability of people to create their own success is a core value that guides every product, technology and business decision we make. The proposed changes on how the FCC regulates equality of access between ISP customers and the online services they use is in fundamental opposition to this value.
This July 12th, 99designs stands with hundreds of industry-leading websites to protest the planned repeal of the FCC’s Net Neutrality regulations.
While Net Neutrality is not an existential threat to the 99designs of today, it absolutely is a threat to the 99designs of yesterday, and all the other up-and-coming internet entrepreneurs of today. Why?
- The operating costs of building and maintaining a business will increase.
- The funding environment may sour.
- It will benefit large, established companies, leading to less competition.
- Consumers won’t be free to choose the best product or service for their needs, because they may not be able to find/access it.