What others say: FCC should protect Net neutrality

  • Monday, November 17, 2014 8:30pm
  • Opinion

It’s no small irony that President Barack Obama supported protections for an open Internet on the same day he arrived in China, a nation that notoriously controls and censors Internet communications.

The president is trying to protect Americans from having their Internet access and usage manipulated by a dictatorship of the nation’s Internet providers. But in the United States, unlike China, keeping the Internet free requires giving a government agency, the Federal Communications Commission, the power to ensure “Net neutrality.” The term means that information moving on the Internet — except for illegal material, such as child pornography — is treated equally and not subject to blockages, slowdowns or special tolls determined by providers.

Net neutrality conflicts with the desire of Internet providers like Verizon, AT&T, Comcast and Time Warner Cable to establish “fast lanes” for which users pay more to move data at higher speeds. They say that traffic controls and high-speed lanes are a natural evolution of the nation’s information superhighway and that government regulations will slow commerce and innovation.

“We are stunned the president would abandon the longstanding, bipartisan policy of lightly regulating the Internet and calling for extreme” regulation, said Michael Powell, president and CEO of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, the primary lobbying arm of the cable industry.

But the industry’s call for “freedom” is really a demand that those who control the means of Internet communications be able to shape the flow and character of Internet content. The president and other advocates of Net neutrality say a truly free Internet will be shaped by the tastes and needs of consumers, not by the monopolies that control the pipelines.

To ensure Net neutrality, the president called on the FCC to treat Net providers like public utilities just as phone companies are regulated.

The FCC should move to protect Net neutrality. When Internet providers file lawsuits in response, the FCC’s authority should be upheld by the courts. The Internet is becoming the main transmitter of communications in the United States. How it responds to the public’s needs should not be left to phone companies and especially not to the cable titans that have already established records of high monopoly pricing and wretched consumer service.

— News and Observer, Raleigh, North Carolina,

Nov. 11

More in Opinion

The U.S. Capitol is seen in Washington, D.C. in this file photo. (File)
Opinion: The Alaskans with the power to defend America’s democracy

It’s well past time to publicly refute Trump’s lie

File
Opinion: Here’s what I expect of lawmakers in a post-Roe America

I urge lawmakers to codify abortion rights at the state and federal levels.

File
Opinion: Confusion over ranked choice voting persists

Voter confusion over ballot procedures will continue

Former Gov. Bill Walker, right, and his running mate former commissioner of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development Heidi Drygas, speak to Juneauites gathered for a fundraiser at a private home in Juneau on Tuesday, June 7, 2022. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Voices of the Peninsula: A vote for Walker/Drygas is a vote for Alaskans

It’s easy to forget some of the many lost lawsuits, devastating budget cuts and general incompetence that defines Mike Dunleavy’s term as governor

This photo shows a return envelop for 2022 special primary. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Voices of the Peninsula: Learn how to access your ballot

The recent special primary election was the first time the state conducted an all mail-in ballot election

The Storyknife Writers Retreat in the summer of 2021 in Homer, Alaska. (Photo provided)
Point of View: Storyknife: Invest in women writers, read the rewards

Storyknife is committed to providing opportunities to a diversity of writers

Residents line the Sterling Highway in front of Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s office to oppose Pebble Mine on Wednesday, June 26, 2019, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Voices of the Peninsula: No more delays — finalize protections for Bristol Bay

How many times do we have to say NO to a bad project that would harm Alaskans?

Peter Asmus (Photo provided)
Why Alaska is leading the nation on energy innovation

Alaska is a unique vantage point upon which to review the world’s current energy conundrum

Most Read