Fred Wilson and 50 VCs sound battle cry against FCC’s net neutrality proposal

By Michael del Castillo
Upstart Business Magazine

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler is about to get a whopper of a letter from over 50 venture capitalists against his proposed plan to let Internet Service Providers charge for different access speeds for different sites. Following a plea for even more VCs to join the FCC opposition, Wheeler should be prepared for an all out venture capitalist onslaught.

Their main concern: different speeds of access to sites will mean that the best ideas may less often rise to the top, instead preferencing those with the deepest pockets.

From the letter, which ought to be sent to chairman Wheeler tomorrow:

Creators will have to ask permission of an investor or corporate hierarchy before they can launch. Ideas will be vetted by committees and quirky passion projects will not get a chance. An individual in dorm room or a design studio will not be able to experiment out loud on the Internet. The result will be greater conformity, fewer surprises, and less innovation.

Fred Wilson, of Union Square Ventures, has since taken his widely-read blog to ask for further support:

We pulled this together quickly over the past 24 hours, and weren’t able to directly reach as many VCs and other investors as we would have liked, so will gladly welcome additional signatories throughout the day today before we formally file this with the FCC tonight.

Wheeler recently defended his proposal, which was originally posted on the FCC blog, speaking to a group of cable executives. “Our goal is rules that will encourage broadband providers to continually upgrade service to all,’ he said, according to a USA Today report. “I must warn you, (we) will look skeptically on special exceptions.”

Though based on these venture capitalists’ response, it would seem they expect more than just a skeptical look at those with the power to provide different speeds of service to those with the money to spend.

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