EDITORIAL: Net neutrality is the basis for modern day free speech and commerce

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai today announced plans to unravel the Net Neutrality provisions currently in place in the United States. The internet is the ultimate playing field leveler, giving every person the ability to both exercise the right to free speech electronically as well as take in the opinions of others; and engage in interstate and intrastate commerce for their own benefit and the benefit of others.

Already algorithms from the tech elite such as Google, Twitter, Facebook, and others are reading each and every key stroke, every address for each page visited on the internet, and “prioritizing” which tweets, which pages, and which posts receive preferential treatment and which must be “boosted” meaning paid to reach the intended target audience. These actions by tech companies stifle competition and make businesses large and small rely on these tools and technology to reach consumers in an every increasing pay to play scenario.

The end of regulation of internet access as a utility will only distort the playing field further against the individual and towards big business, big institutions, and big government. All devices and all applications connected to the internet must be allowed to be on the same playing field whether large (Amazon.com) or small (Rasberry PI).

It is no secret your internet company has no respect for you, both nationally and locally. To my most recent recollection and as an example, Mediacom is in default on it’s Franchise Agreement with the City of Wayzata, and yet our bill at home has never been higher (30% higher than a year ago) and the pressure to sign a multi-year agreement never ending.

It’s a symptom of a disease. When was the last time you were really irritated with the electric company in the same way–I can’t remember a time even as I can be shocked at the amount that is being invoiced from time to time.

I urge you to contact your representatives and tell them to keep internet access a utility:

The freedoms guaranteed to us under the Bill of Rights require net neutrality; the future of our country, of free speech, and interstate and intrastate commerce depend on it. Read more about Net Neutrality and why it is important here.

Dan Gustafson

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