As Congress continues to look for ways to grow the economy, Sen. Cory Booker recently sat down with The Internet Association at the “Small Business Tech and Social Innovation Forum” to discuss the value of an open Internet and how innovation online drives economic growth and opportunity for Americans.

“We live in a powerfully interconnected globe. Now you can access information, you can access capital, and you can access work, all from using the Internet,” said Sen. Booker. “It is critical that lawmakers understand the potential and possibility of the Internet.”

To see the original press release click here.

Today, The Internet Association, the unified voice of the Internet economy, welcomed Groupon as its 27th member, joining other major internet companies to forge a common voice in advancing public policy solutions to strengthen and protect Internet freedom, foster innovation and economic growth, and empower users.

“We’re very excited to join The Internet Association. It’s important that e-commerce companies have a cohesive and aggressive voice on high-level policy issues affecting the current and future state of the Internet,” said Brock Wanless, Groupon’s head of government affairs. “We believe The Internet Association is this cohesive voice, and we’re happy to add Groupon’s experience as an innovative, disruptive market force to their efforts.”

Groupon is a global leader of local commerce with a presence in more than 48 countries around the world. To date, Groupon has worked with more than 650,000 businesses––bringing tens of millions of customers through their doors. By leveraging the company’s more than 200 million subscribers and significant mobile and Web presence, Groupon has become one of the most effective marketing platforms for local businesses.

“The Internet Association welcomes Groupon to our strong, central voice on Internet policy. Groupon’s unique platform connects local merchants and customers. Its e-commerce efforts positively disrupt the traditional ways that Main Street businesses market products and bring customers to storefronts across the globe,“ said Michael Beckerman, The Internet Association President and CEO. “Groupon exemplifies how the Internet can be a remarkable growth engine for small businesses, creating jobs in every sector of the economy. Groupon’s policy perspective will add tremendous value as we amplify the Internet’s voice in Washington.”

To read the original press release, click here.

In the past two weeks, the car-sharing service Uber — which lets users find and book participating taxis from their smartphones — has added Salem, Eugene, and Vancouver to its roster of more than 100 cities where it’s available. Uber’s service allows individuals with their own cars, as well as licensed drivers of private town cars, to pick up riders looking for a taxi using the company’s app.

Uber and room-renting website Airbnb are both examples of the “sharing economy,” through which companies connect users with each other. But while Portland is poised to become the first city in the country to collect taxes on Airbnb rentals, Uber isn’t available to Portland residents.

In December, the city’s Private For-Hire Transportation Board of Review rejected Uber’s request to waive city taxi regulations that would allow the company to enter the market. Passenger safety concerns mean the city must look at transportation companies with a different level of vigilance than lodging companies, says Dylan Rivera, communications manager at the Portland Bureau of Transportation.

The Internet Association’s President and CEO, Michael Beckerman, talks to Oregon Public Broadcasting’s Think Out Loud about Ridesharing in Portland. Click here to listen to the radio show.

 

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Last week, we partnered with U.S. Senator corybooker to host a  forum focused on using the Internet to grow small businesses in New Jersey.  The panel discussion, “Small Business Tech and Social Innovation Forum,” was held at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ.  Michael Beckerman, President and CEO of the Internet Association, led the discussion along with Carley Graham Garcia, Head of Global Industry Relations at Google, Bess Yount, Facebook’s Small Business Partner Manager, Darnell Holloway, Senior Manager of Local Business Outreach at Yelp, CEO and founder of Cardcash.com, Elliot Bohm, and CEO/Innovator and Chief of websignia, Steve Jones. Other Internet companies like Huffington Post, Uber, and Etsy were also in attendance to help small business owners in the breakout sessions.  

To watch the video on YouTube, click here.

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The Internet Association today submitted its comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) urging Commissioners to take strong and decisive action to guarantee an open Internet for the future. The Internet Association’s comments mark the first time that more than two dozen of the world’s most-recognizable and successful Internet companies have spoken with a unified voice on the issue of Net Neutrality.

“Segregation of the Internet into fast lanes and slow lanes will distort the market, discourage innovation and harm Internet users,” said Michael Beckerman, President and CEO of The Internet Association. “The FCC must act to create strong, enforceable net neutrality rules and apply them equally to both wireless and wireline providers.

The Internet Association’s comments to the FCC can be distilled into three key tenets necessary to secure and preserve an open Internet for the future:

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1. Internet Users Should Get What They Want, When They Want It

The Internet should be free from censorship, discrimination and anticompetitive behavior, protected by simple and enforceable rules that ensure a consumer’s equal access to the content they want.

2. Internet Users Should Get What They Pay For

Broadband subscribers should get the bandwidth they are paying for – content should be treated equally, without degradations in speed or quality. No artificial slow lanes.

3. All Networks Should Have Equal Protection

No matter how users choose to connect to the Internet, net neutrality rules should apply universally on both wireless and wireline networks.

“There is a compelling public interest for an open Internet, and we stand with the Internet’s vast community of users to keep it that way. We urge the FCC to listen to the people, and adopt these simple, enforceable rules to protect an open Internet. That open and decentralized model is precisely what enabled the Internet to become one of the greatest engines for growth, prosperity and progress the world has ever known. Recent Court rulings have placed that model at risk, and the FCC must act to protect an open Internet for all.”

In its comments, The Internet Association also expressed concern that broadband providers are discriminating among sources and types of Internet traffic in real-time, presenting a major problem for both consumers and content providers. The comments to the FCC detailed the perverse economic incentives that exist for broadband providers to block non-affiliated content in favor of affiliated web traffic. To resolve these conflicts and potential for abuses in the system, The Internet Association recommended increased transparency to ensure providers are not limiting consumer access.

To read more, click here.