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Access to ’Net Not a Partisan Matter

2014 11 18   Peter Feinstein   Media and Regualtion    

If you saw a headline last week along the lines of “Obama calls on FCC to toughen proposed net-neutrality rules,” here’s the deal:

Telecoms, left to their own devices without any oversight or accountability, will play rough with everyone who wants access to the Internet because – and you have to accept this because it is the truth – they believe they own it. They actually try to cite case law that, in a roundabout way, might suggest that broadband is an information service, not just access to information. That’s really as complicated as this gets.

If you think any provider of access to the Internet via a high-speed connection actually owns the rights to the information its service provides, then you likely believe there is no province for any sort of regulation. But if you view their broadband-connection services as merely an accessway, like a telecommunications portal to every single data source on the Web, then you likely should be aligned with the notion of these service providers having to grant everyone equal access.

It is not a Democratic or Republican issue. If you think it is, you do not understand the process – nor what’s at stake for access and what we are charged by these companies for what already are among the world’s slowest Internet-connection speeds.