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Reddit, Etsy among startups in favor of net neutrality

More than 800 companies and groups from the startup world sign a letter saying they want net neutrality rules to stay in place.

Ajit Pai got a letter from the startup world about net neutrality.
CQ-Roll Call

More than 800 startups, investors and tech organizations are speaking out on behalf of net neutrality rules from the Obama administration.

The group signed a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai asking him not to reverse existing rules. The letter was made public Wednesday. Pai met with tech company executives from companies like Facebook, Oracle and Cisco in April.

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

As CNET's Maggie Reardon noted earlier this month, the rules in question essentially "ensure all online traffic is treated equally and prohibit providers from selling 'fast lanes,' which would give deep-pocketed players priority access to their customers."

The letter was started by startup incubator Y Combinator, a startup advocacy group called Engine, and accelerator Techstars. Other recognizable names include Etsy, Foursquare, Github, Meetup, Reddit and Warby Parker.

The FCC declined to comment.

"We organized the letter because we wanted to make sure that the folks who will be most impacted by a lack of strong net neutrality rules -- startups, particularly those in areas outside of Silicon Valley -- have a seat at the table as the future of net neutrality is hashed out," Engine's executive director, Evan Engstrom, said in a statement.

Engstrom added that innovation and job creation could be at risk if these protections are undone.

Along those lines, Etsy expressed concern over a potentially uneven playing field for its sellers.

"Our sellers -- 87 percent of whom are women and most of whom are businesses of one -- depend on a free and open internet to build their businesses and compete with much bigger brands," Althea Erickson, Etsy's senior director of global advocacy and policy, said in a statement.

Originally published April 26 at 8:32 a.m. PT.
Update, April 27 at 7:32 a.m. PT: Adds comment from Etsy.