Monthly Archives: December 2015

December 22, 2015 | News, Statements

Statement on FCC Inquiries Into ISP Practices

Washington, DC – Internet Association President and CEO Michael Beckerman issued the following statement on the FCC’s inquiries into ISP practices, including T-Mobile’s video throttling and Binge On programs:

“T-Mobile’s new ‘streaming optimization’ program appears to involve throttling of all video traffic, across all data plans, regardless of network congestion. The Internet Association applauds the FCC for seeking information on this practice and its potential harm on consumers and online applications and services.

“The throttling practice was adopted alongside its Binge On program, which offers consumers and video services the option of removing data charges (‘zero-rating’) for video services. Reducing data charges for entire classes of applications can be legitimate and benefit consumers, so long as clear notice and choice is provided to service providers and consumers. However, a reasonably designed zero-rating program does not include the throttling of traffic for services or consumers that do not participate.

“We encourage the FCC to keep examining the details of these practices by Internet access providers.”

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December 11, 2015 | News, Statements

Statement on Last Minute Changes to the GDPR Age of Consent

Washington, DC – Internet Association President and CEO Michael Beckerman issued the following statement on last minute changes to the text of the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that unilaterally increases the age of consent from 13 to 16 for the use of online services.

“Members of the Internet Association provide children a safe place to explore and learn. Policymakers should recognize the time tested best practices that have been developed maximize safety for adolescents over 13 who choose to take advantage of the social and learning opportunities available online.

“The unilateral, eleventh hour decision to increase the age of consent without a stated rationale or stakeholder consultation is plainly not in children’s best interest, as numerous child safety groups have pointed out. They have recommended that the age be immediately reversed to 13 so that teens of all ages can take advantage of the many beneficial and educational purposes of online services. The Internet industry joins child safety groups and other stakeholders in calling on European General Data Protection Regulation negotiators to restore 13 as the age of consent for the use of online services.”

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December 11, 2015 | News, Statements

Statement on the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015

Washington, DC – Internet Association President and CEO Michael Beckerman issued the following statement in support of the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015:

“The Internet allows businesses of all sizes to engage in global trade in ways that could not have been imagined just a few years ago. Internet-enabled businesses would greatly benefit from the agreed upon package, because it improves internet users’ ability to trade across borders by streamlining customs processes and reducing border challenges caused by duties and burdensome paperwork. Ultimately, the final customs bill reduces trade barriers for Internet-enabled businesses, and we urge Members of Congress to support its immediate passage.”

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December 10, 2015 | News, Press Releases

New Report Calculates the Size of the Internet Economy

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Internet Association released a new report on the Internet’s economic impact, which finds that employment in the Internet sector has doubled since 2007, nearing three million total jobs.  The Internet sector was responsible for an estimated $966.2 billion, or six percent, of real GDP in 2014.

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“The Internet often has an ‘everywhere but nowhere’ feel, however, in reality, jobs in the Internet sector have doubled, contributions to real GDP have increased by more than two-fold, and employee wages far surpass the national average,” said Michael Beckerman, President and CEO of the Internet Association. “The results of this study are incredibly exciting for all of us who care about and advocate for the continued growth of the Internet economy, its companies, and the users they serve.”

The study provides conservative estimates for the total economic value of the Internet to the U.S. economy by analyzing product line receipts, or data tables demonstrating sector totals on earnings and related measurements, from several Internet Industries classified by the North America Industry Classification System (NAICS) over time. The study concludes with research on the Internet sectors impact in different states across the country.

Key findings include:

  • The Internet sector adds significant value to the U.S. economy, specifically GDP, and does so on a scale that surpasses many more established sectors. In 2014, the Internet sector contributed 6 percent of real GDP ($966.2 B) – 2x more than their total contribution amount in 2007. From 2007 to 2012, the Internet sector increased its nominal value added to the economy by approximately 110.4 percent. In 2012, Internet industries contributed more to nominal GDP than a number of other major industries, including construction, computer and electronic products, broadcasting and telecommunications, and accommodation and food services.
  • As the Internet sector continues to develop, employment opportunities increase. Government data shows the Internet sector increased its total number of employees by 107.9 percent over the five-year span from 1.38 million people in 2007 to 2.87 million people in 2012. During the same time span, the Internet sector’s total employment increased as employment in other sectors – including construction, computer and electronic products, and more – decreased.
  • The Internet sector bolsters the health of the overall economy by delivering higher employee earnings and consumer surplus. The Internet sector has higher employee wages than the following industries: computer electronic products, chemical products, and broadcasting and telecommunications. Employees earned approximately $79,184, compared to the national average of $61,547. Furthermore, services associated with the Internet sector help both employees and consumers to save money by reducing transaction, search, and opportunity costs.
  • This substantial increase in Internet sector value added clearly reflects the ubiquitous presence of the Internet throughout the U.S. economy. The Internet sector spans across thousands of different organizations that work on a variety of tasks including data processing, hosting and related services, wired and telecommunications carriers, wireless telecommunications carriers, and more.

Measuring the U.S. Internet Sector is the Internet Association’s first economic report. It relies solely on government data.

To learn more about Measuring the U.S. Internet Sector, click here.

December 7, 2015 | News, Press Releases

Assemblymember Ian Calderon and the Internet Association Highlight the Internet’s Positive Impact on Whittier Small Businesses

Washington, D.C. – Today, Assemblymember Ian Calderon (D-Whittier) and the Internet Association led a small business crawl in Whittier, California. The crawl featured three local businesses that use the Internet to expand their customer base, increase economic growth, and boost job opportunities in the community.

“As someone who has worked extensively to support businesses here in Whittier, I have seen first hand the powerful role that the Internet can play in driving entrepreneurship and innovation across our community,” said Assemblymember Ian Calderon. “I am proud to see these small businesses continuing California’s long-established tradition of embracing Internet-enabled technologies to connect with millions of potential customers around the globe, improve operations, and create jobs for hardworking folks in Whittier and across the state.”

The tour highlighted a wide cross-section of businesses in Whittier:

Shop the Runway is an online retailer of affordable clothing influenced by Hollywood fashion icons. In addition to their company website, they use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram to connect with customers and promote their products on a regular basis. Posts on their Facebook and Twitter accounts showcase new items and in-store or online sales, as well as other events.

Setà dine:lounge was established in 2009. With over three thousand likes and nearly twenty thousand check-ins on Facebook, Setà uses social media to engage with its growing customer base and boost business opportunities. It is a family-owned contemporary dining establishment founded with the idea of bringing “a little Pasadena and West LA to the Whittier Community.” The menu at Setá features steakhouse favorites showcasing critically acclaimed Executive Chef Hugo Molina’s Modern American Cuisine with Spanish and Asian influences. Setá uses sustainable farming and organically grown produce resources.

Casita del Pueblo uses multiple platforms to promote merchandise and provides customers the ability to order online using a variety of Internet-enabled payment methods. Their online store features seasonal works of art and has special collections dedicated to Frida Kahlo and Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). The shop features apparel, jewelry, home decoration items, music, and above all, works of art by local artists reflecting the vibrancy of current Latino culture. “These three businesses in Whittier showcase the immense potential the Internet provides for boosting growth in communities across California and throughout the country,” said Robert Callahan, California Executive Director of the Internet Association. “In a global economy that grows more connected everyday, the Internet provides businesses small and large with powerful resources and tools necessary to reach new customers and expand their operations in markets around the world.” The Internet Association, which serves as the unified voice of the Internet economy, has previously hosted small business crawls in Fresno, Fremont, El Segundo, and around the United States.

“These three businesses in Whittier showcase the immense potential the Internet provides for boosting growth in communities across California and throughout the country,” said Robert Callahan, California Executive Director of the Internet Association. “In a global economy that grows more connected everyday, the Internet provides businesses small and large with powerful resources and tools necessary to reach new customers and expand their operations in markets around the world.”

The Internet Association, which serves as the unified voice of the Internet economy, has previously hosted small business crawls in Fresno, Fremont, El Segundo, and around the United States.

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December 3, 2015 | News, Press Releases

National Survey Shines Light On America’s Emerging Peer-to-Peer Culture

Americans utilizing peer-to-peer platforms do not do so as users of separate tools but as members of a larger culture that crosses platforms and demographics

 

View survey here

Washington, D.C., December 3, 2015 – Peer-to-peer, or sharing economy, platforms are vital to American travelers and consumers. These findings are highlighted in a nationwide consumer survey commissioned jointly by the Travel Technology Association and the Internet Association. The continuous growth and widespread popularity of these platforms is undeniable:

 

  • Approximately 1 in 2 Americans report engaging in the peer-to-peer economy in 2015 (46%), up 144% from 19% as reported by PricewaterhouseCoopers in December 2014. Specifically:
    • Approximately 1 in 4 report engaging short-term rental platforms (23%), up 277% from 6%.
    • Approximately 1 in 4 report engaging ridesharing platforms (28%), up 249% from 8%.

 

“The rapid growth of sharing economy platforms is a testament to the unique power of the Internet and innovation to better the lives of individuals and grow our economy,” said Internet Association President and CEO Michael Beckerman.

Moreover, “Unlike other emerging technologies, growth in the peer-to-peer sector is spread across demographics,” says Travel Tech President Steve Shur. “For instance, short-term renting isn’t just for Millennials. We found usage to be distributed evenly across ages.”

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The millions who utilize these platforms are members of a broader culture shift where users look to the sharing economy to move around town, find a place to stay when traveling, do household work, and have food delivered at the press of a button. Findings revealed interaction with one app dramatically increases user inclination to engage others:

 

  • Ridesharing passengers (38%) and drivers (44%) as well as short-term rental guests (47%) are respectively 65%, 91%, and 68% more likely than the average American to participate in the other ecosystem.
  • 1 in 2 ridesharing passengers (50%) and short-term rental guests (57%) find the service for accommodations/ridesharing valuable or extremely valuable and are more likely to do so by 34% and 59%, respectively.
  • Most ridesharing passengers (73%) and short-term rental guests (62%) plan to utilize services in the other category in the next two years and are more likely than the average American to report this by 52% and 37%, respectively.
  • Many ridesharing drivers (31%) and short-term rental hosts (24%) plan on becoming providers on the accommodations/ridesharing platform in the next two years and are more likely than the average American to report this by 182% and 101%, respectively.

 

Whether booking a stay on HomeAway, Airbnb, and Flipkey, riding with Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar, or interacting with the plethora of other peer-to-peer options, Americans are deriving immense value by interacting with multiple peer-to-peer platforms.

 

  • 9 out of 10 previous ridesharing passengers and short-term rental guests rate peer-to-peer services as valuable or extremely valuable (both 89%).
    • Of more than 1,000 respondents, no previous guest rated the impact of short-term rental as negative.
  • Becoming a guest reverses opinions on short-term rental: 26% of non-users would be less inclined to visit a city if short-term rentals were banned, a number that increases by a 127% to 59% for previous guests.
  • 9 out of 10 previous ridesharing passengers and short-term rental guests plan to use these platforms again soon: respectively, 91% and 88% anticipate they or a family member will engage in the next two years.

 

As more and more Americans engage with, find value in, and ultimately return to these peer-to-peer platforms, it’s imperative that local, state, and federal policymakers recognize the incredible value this dynamic industry brings to travelers and communities large and small, urban and rural. The peer-to-peer industry is committed to working together with lawmakers on smart public policy that embraces innovation and makes American communities stronger.

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SURVEY METHODOLOGY
The Travel Tech/Internet Association survey was conducted online from November 23 to 24, 2015 by SurveyMonkey among a national sample of 1,017 adults aged 18 and over. Respondents for this survey were selected from the nearly three million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. Data for this survey have been weighted for age, gender, household income, region, and device type using U.S. Census Bureau data to reflect the demographic composition of the United States. The margin of error is +/-3% age points with a confidence rate of 95%.

ABOUT TRAVEL TECH
The Travel Technology Association is the trade association for the travel technology industry, and is dedicated to promoting public policy that helps connect consumers and travel providers, eliminate barriers to travel, and protect the traveling public. Travel Tech members include: Expedia, Priceline, Sabre, Amadeus, Travelport, Skyscanner, Airbnb, HomeAway, TripAdvisor, CheapOAir, and their subsidiaries. Learn more about the Travel Technology Association by visiting us at TravelTech.org and following us on Twitter @TravelTech.

ABOUT THE INTERNET ASSOCIATION
The Internet Association, the unified voice of the Internet economy, represents the interests of leading Internet companies. Internet Association members include: Airbnb, Amazon, Auction.com, Coinbase, Dropbox, eBay, Etsy, Expedia, Facebook, Fanduel, Gilt, Google, Groupon, Handy, IAC, Intuit, LinkedIn, Lyft, Monster Worldwide, Netflix, Pandora, PayPal, Pinterest, Practice Fusion, Rackspace, reddit, Salesforce.com, Sidecar, Snapchat, SurveyMonkey, TripAdvisor, Twitter, Uber Technologies, Inc., Yahoo!, Yelp, Zenefits, and Zynga. The Internet Association is dedicated to advancing public policy solutions to strengthen and protect Internet freedom, foster innovation and economic growth, and empower users. www.InternetAssociation.org.

December 2, 2015 | News, Press Releases

Internet Association Asks Court to Vacate Sweeping TCPA Rules

Beckerman: “Internet companies should not have to choose between engaging in necessary communication with their users and the threat of class action litigation.”

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Internet Association filed an amicus brief with the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, calling on the court to overturn the Federal Communications Commission’s recent TCPA Order. The Order exposes an unnecessarily broad swath of businesses, including Internet companies communicating with their customers, to the risk of frivolous class action lawsuits.

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) was enacted to protect consumers from receiving unwanted calls from telemarketers and robocallers. Congress designed the TCPA to ensure that consumers do not get unwanted, randomly chosen calls in their homes.

Internet companies, including sharing economy services, social networks, and E-Commerce sites, often engage with their users through text message or even calls. Under the challenged TCPA Order, an Internet company that, through no fault of its own, sends a text message or calls a reassigned phone number can potentially be held liable for that text or call. For instance, if an Internet platform notifies users of a package delivery, that a car is waiting, or of a security breach by text message, it could potentially be held liable for a text sent inadvertently to a recycled cell phone number.

“Internet Association members respect the role that consumer protection plays in our society, but the TCPA was never intended to hold companies liable for sending their users text messages that people want and need,” said Michael Beckerman, President and CEO of the Internet Association. “Internet companies should not have to choose between engaging in necessary communication with their users and the threat of class action litigation. It is our hope that the DC Circuit will vacate the TCPA Order,” said Michael Beckerman.

The FCC declaratory ruling interpreted the TCPA in a way that expands its scope beyond any reasonable interpretation of Congress’s original intent. The ruling exposes any company using a modern phone system, including Internet companies simply attempting to communicate with their users, to a dramatically increased risk of frivolous litigation.

“In an unlawful attempt to respond to changing technology, however, the Commission has interpreted the TCPA in such a way that it now potentially reaches almost any form of electronic communication—a far more sweeping (not to mention unconstitutional) and ambitious rule than Congress’s much more modest focus on the specialized automated dialing equipment that telemarketers used in 1990…[T]he Commission’s Order rolls out the welcome mat for lawsuits threatening the innovative approach to communication that the Internet Association members promote and on which their business models depend,” the brief states.

“Retrofitting old legislation to new industries in ways not intended by Congress will cause uncertainty and will chill innovation and growth in the Internet sector. Internet companies need certainty that they can continue to engage in wanted communication with their users in beneficial and innovative ways,” concluded Abigail Slater, Internet Association Vice President of Legal and Regulatory Policy.

To read the full brief, click here.

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Latest News

Top Internet Business Leaders Confirmed To Speak At Internet Association’s Third Annual Virtuous Circle Summit BECKERMAN: “The value of the Virtuous Circle Summit is the conversations that take place when you bring together the leading voices in the internet innovation and policy space.” Washington, DC — Today, Internet Association announced its initial list of confirmed speakers Read more »

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