Since Yelp’s inception as a platform to connect people with great local businesses around them, we have supported and relied on the principles of an open and free Internet in order to do business. These principles, which have become enshrined in the term “Net Neutrality,” provide that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should treat all legal data and content equally, and not discriminate, throttle, or charge different rates depending on the nature of the site, platform or data being transmitted.
We believe that the Internet, Yelp, and our users have benefitted tremendously from Net Neutrality and that any deviation from these principles could fundamentally threaten the Internet and sites like Yelp as they exist today. This is why we have observed with great interest over the last year as the Federal Communications Commission has considered updating its Net Neutrality rules in the wake of the Verizon vs. FCC federal court decision. It is also why we were incredibly pleased when FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler announced his intention to seek reclassification of Internet access service as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934 for the purposes of enforcing open Internet protections. This reclassification will ensure strong, robust, and enforceable Net Neutrality protections.
We realize that the debate over whether to reclassify Internet access service under Title II has become highly politicized. While we are not directly opposed to any future actions by Congress to promote open Internet protections through new legislation, the litmus test will be whether our elected officials can at the very least meet the threshold of Net Neutrality protections set by the FCC. Anything less will likely cause more harm than good for the Internet and public at-large.
Without an empowered enforcement agency like the FCC to protect that free and open nature, the Internet could fall victim to entrenched, monopolistic ISPs and gatekeeper companies who would control when, how, from whom and at what cost you view content online. This threatens the very core of American freedom and values. At Yelp, we value our users first and foremost, which is why we will work with other companies and organizations to support adoption of the strongest Net Neutrality principles to protect the American public.
Click here to get involved and join millions of other Americans in expressing your support for Net Neutrality before the FCC votes on February 26, 2015.