Here at Moveline, we take our customers' needs seriously. It's important to us to provide top-notch, innovative services that make people's lives easier, particularly in the middle of a stressful life event like a move. But the FCC's current proposed rules regarding net neutrality (or rather, what would ultimately be a lack thereof) is causing a great deal of concern among people-oriented brands like ours, and for good reason. So, we join our fellow "little engines that could" at companies like Etsy, Kickstarter, Netflix and Uber in raising our voices on our customers' behalf.
Here's a copy of the letter our CEO and co-founder, Fred Cook, sent to FCC Chairman Wheeler this week. We urge you to take action, too, and let your voice be heard alongside those who stand against monopolies and controlled markets in a realm that should be open and free. Let's keep the internet fully accessible for everyone, and keep the moving industry -- and other industries, too -- open to competition and improvement, just like it should be.
Dear Chairman Wheeler,
I'm the co-founder and CEO of Moveline, a Las Vegas-based company transforming the moving industry. For people who are moving, instead of having multiple moving company salespeople come out to their homes to do a walk-through, our Vegas-based team does a live video chat (such as Facetime, Skype, or Google Hangout) with a customer, and we give them a range of options for their move. We're just over 2 years old, and are about to cross the 100-person mark. At the rate we're growing, we expect to have created over 750+ new jobs in our first 5 years in operation.
I'm writing to impress upon you that net neutrality isn't merely an issue in the content market; it's an issue that increasingly will have an impact on all types of commerce.
Doing a live video chat requires significant bandwidth, comparable to watching streaming video online. Lack of net neutrality represents the potential for both a direct and indirect threat to our business. The indirect threat is a change in the live video chat market. Not all of our customers have the capability to do Facetime, but nearly everyone in America now has the ability to do some kind of live video chat. If through the cable company monopoly, this narrows to only a couple of protocols, the potential market for our product could be narrowed significantly.
The potential for a direct threat to our business is that a competitive service, or much more dangerously, one of the billion-dollar legacy businesses in the moving industry, decides they would like us to pay a toll to be able to video chat with customers. Without net neutrality, they could easily work with a cable company to either drain our resources or limit our ability to connect directly with customers, or to launch a competitive service and give it priority.
We receive feedback from our customers on a daily basis about how easy and convenient video chat is compared to having a salesperson come over to their home. If we weren't able to offer this service, we would be denying the consuming public a better product and service than is currently otherwise available in our industry.
While Moveline is one of the first services to use live video chat to do business directly with consumers, we are seeing more businesses like ours popping up in other industries. In the near future, for any service which would have previously required someone to come to a business or residence and perform a physical inspection before work can be performed, a video chat company will exist to replace that part of the process, creating efficiency in the market and giving more choice to consumers.
Net neutrality and an open internet will ensure fair competition for services like ours across industries.
If you’d like to take part in maintaining net neutrality and keeping the internet equally accessible to everyone, reach out to the FCC here and let them know how you feel.