Net Neutrality Letter

Thursday, 2010-March-18 at 17:31

This was my submission to the FCC regarding Net Neutrality. I found it again today and thought it might merit circulation. Even though it is too late to submit similar comments to the FCC, there are two senators and a representative who still need to see this.

In the beginning, entrepreneurs put banks of modems in their garages and started Internet service providers offering dial-up service. And it was good. And lo, the telephone industry offered dial up. And their competitors offered better service at lower prices, and everyone’s phone payment paid the costs of building the infrastructure.

Then came dark days, for someone in the FCC decided to allow the telephone and cable television industries to offer high-speed access, but they needn’t allow competing ISPs to sell high-speed access through those lines. And the cable companies raised their prices and offered inferior service. They interfered with their customers’ use of phone- and video-over-Internet services in order to promote their own, higher-priced offerings. They placed arbitrary limits on bandwidth use for supposedly “unlimited” access. The phone companies, meanwhile, continued to offer only a relatively slow-speed version of Internet access. And the FCC and Congress hemmed and hawed and did little to nothing about the injustices they saw.

And lo, a new ruler arose, and with him, the FCC began to discuss whether it should mandate “net neutrality” to prevent the abuses they had observed, and worse besides. And the telephone and cable television industries gave money to Congress and gained an inside track. And there arose a movement that sought to get the FCC and Congress to protect the interests of citizens.

And this is where we stand today. I ask you to impose net neutrality because the FCC erred in allowing wireline owners to offer access and service-consuming services to the public themselves. It should have been an arm’s length transaction with similar terms available to multiple qualified ISPs (and no throttling or interference by the cable or telephone company owning the “pipes” at all). Because of this mistake, there is no free market for many consumers.

In many areas, there is the cable company and there are a few surviving dial-up competitors. In other areas, there is a duopoly, where the cable company offers faster speeds at higher prices, and the telephone company offers moderate speeds at medium prices. When the only game in town decides to interfere with the Internet services you use (possibly to make your living), you are screwed.

I ask you, members of the Federal Communications Commission, to recognize that the Internet is not the property of any company. It is not something of no consequence that can be restricted or limited for company purposes without fundamentally harming the American economy and those of us who pay those companies for our access. I ask you to represent the interests of “We the people”, the ones you work for, and not solely the interests of a few large corporations.

And I remind you that I am a registered voter and will withhold my vote from candidates for federal office who do not support the American people through Net Neutrality.

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Entry filed under: Networks, Open Government, Politics. Tags: .

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