This morning, the FCC will vote to overturn the net neutrality rules that Etsy, our sellers, and our many allies fought so hard to win back in 2014 and 2015. Today is a sad day for those of us who fought for the strong net neutrality protections that enable millions of microbusinesses to start and grow online.
As our CEO Josh Silverman wrote yesterday in this op-ed, “1.9 million Etsy sellers and 29.6 million small businesses…depend on the open internet to compete with much larger, more established brands. Nine out of ten of our sellers are women, and most are running businesses out of their homes, many of them in rural communities. These are the people who stand to lose the most when the FCC votes to overturn net neutrality protections this week. Under the FCC’s new proposal, businesses that can’t pay off big cable companies could find themselves in the internet slow lane or blocked altogether.”
Though Chairman Pai has the votes he needs to overturn the rules today, this is not the end of the battle for a free and open Internet. Etsy and our sellers will continue to make the case for clear, simple, bright line net neutrality protections in the courts and in Congress. Just this week, almost 15,ooo Etsy sellers have sent over 48,000 messages to Congress, and have gotten op-eds placed in Fargo and Daytona, with many more in the works! Influential advocates for net neutrality, including Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, FCC Commissioner Rosenworcel and Senator Kamala Harris are all citing Etsy sellers when they talk about why net neutrality matters.
Despite today’s disappointing set back, the Etsy community is making a meaningful difference in this debate. That’s why we’re urging all supporters – and especially the Etsy sellers most impacted by this change – to tell their representatives in Congress what a free and open internet means for you, your family, and your businesses.
Don’t let Congress go home for the holidays without hearing from you—send a strong message to your representative right now!
Ultimately, we believe the voices of millions of microbusinesses will prevail, and that together, we can preserve the open internet as a platform that enables millions of creative entrepreneurs around the world to start, grow, and thrive.
Althea Erickson leads Etsy’s advocacy and policy work, educating government folks about our sellers and pitching policy ideas to support them.