Hundreds of startups call on FCC to preserve net neutrality

A group of more than 800 tech startups is urging Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai not to go forward with his plan to dismantle net neutrality.

In a letter sent Wednesday morning, the coalition - led by tech groups Y Combinator, Techstars and Engine - said it is "deeply concerned" about the reports that Pai is planning to repeal the FCC's net neutrality rules, which prohibit internet service providers from favoring or discriminating against web traffic to certain sites.

"Without net neutrality, the incumbents who provide access to the Internet would be able to pick winners or losers in the market," the letter reads.

"They could impede traffic from our services in order to favor their own services or established competitors. Or they could impose new tolls on us, inhibiting consumer choice."

Pai in a speech later Wednesday is expected to outline his argument for repealing the 2015 regulations. Details on his plan are scarce, but he reportedly has floated eliminating the regulations in exchange for voluntary commitments to open internet principles.

Pai has emphasized that he supports many of those principles, but the says net neutrality rules went too far by reclassifying internet providers as common carriers - a designation that opened them up to tougher enforcement from the FCC.

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