If the Trump administration complies with its plan to repeal network neutrality protections, you may not be able to read this article. Your Internet provider may charge you $ 20 to access this page, reduce the speed of your connection by attempting to upload it, or even block access to Westword altogether at your sole discretion.
Net neutrality is the principle that your Internet provider should not restrict access to web content because they do not like it or because someone is not greasing their hands behind consumers. Without the rules of Obama's time, our ability to freely use every facet of the Internet will be in the hands of a few giant telecommunications companies, effectively monopolies in most areas.
We just need to see the example of Portugal for a glimpse of what our future might be without net neutrality. There, everything from social media and email services to streaming music and video is blocked behind the tiered payment walls. Bringing these kinds of restrictions to the United States would be a devastating blow to the Internet as we know it. And, what's worse, the FCC is ready to dismantle the neutrality of the network partly based on comments from fake people that do not really exist.
Today, the internet exists as a thriving ecosystem of innovation, freedom of expression and easy access to information. But tomorrow, like much of what the Trump administration touches, the internet could become another tool for special interests to cover its profit margins.
Trump's president-elect Ajit Pai argues that ending net neutrality will allow consumers to choose the provider that best meets their needs. Virtually anyone who has subscribed to an Internet service knows how divorced from reality this argument is. With only a handful of large corporations that have a monopoly of the market, there is very little to choose from. For me and many of you, it's basically Comcast or a much slower and more expensive satellite link.
In a state like Colorado, where broadband access is scarce in rural communities, many consumers are lucky to even have a high-speed Internet provider available to them. Without net neutrality, these consumers will have nowhere to go if their provider decides to limit access to websites and web-based services.
Rural residents in Colorado may lose access to the telemedicine they depend on for health care if their internet provider chooses to increase costs for these data-intensive services. It would be especially devastating in high-need communities where consumers have few other health care options. Without net neutrality protections, fewer people could telecommute, further obstructing our roads and highways.
In our schools, the Internet is an invaluable learning tool that connects our students to the world. But what happens if providers decide to charge schools more for access to online learning applications? It would mean that some of Colorado's most vulnerable children are priced out of clbadroom innovation that helps prepare children for college and a career.
Our businesses are also at risk. Colorado is home to some of the most exciting and innovative Internet startups, which rely on the Internet to connect with customers.
I've seen how important this is first-hand.
A free and open Internet helped me to convert a pair of servers parked in a garage into a thriving technology business by creating dozens of jobs. Later, she allowed me to help put my family's small greeting card business online and help people around the world express love and friendship with free electronic greetings cards.
Everyone deserves the same opportunity to create their own success. Ending the net neutrality threatens the level of equality in which so many entrepreneurs have prospered and that has generated tens of thousands of jobs in Colorado. It would mean that the next generation of small businesses and new garage companies would never get going because they can not reach their customers, unable to pay the ransom demanded by Internet providers.
So, what can we do? ?
Obviously, the preferred solution would be to halt the FCC, either by exerting sufficient public pressure to reverse the course, pbading legislation through Congress to prevent the derogation of net neutrality, or by stopping the recall effort in the courts . 19659002] But we also have to think about how we can mitigate the damage here in Colorado if the Trump administration prevails in its efforts to repeal the existing rules.
Part of the solution, and we should actually do this regardless of what happens with the net neutrality regulations, is to make the broadband market more competitive Here, so that more Colorado residents have access to high-speed internet and communities do not depend on a single provider.
To that end, I joined Summit County Commissioner Karn Stiegelmeier to outline a detailed plan to improve Internet access in communities across the state. Our plan includes making it easier for local communities to build their own broadband infrastructure, encourage more public-private partnerships to bring broadband to difficult geographical areas and eliminate the bureaucracy that hinders the financing of broadband projects.
the federal government will not resist the special interests, we may have to do the work ourselves. If Colorado chooses to exercise its authority and provide strong consumer protection to preserve a free and open Internet within our borders, I have no doubt that other states will do the same quickly: maybe even join a multi-state consortium to protect the Freedom people and a strong ecosystem for innovation.
Granting a handful of special interests to control what you see on the Internet is the opposite of the free market. It is antidemocratic, monopolistic and dangerous. That is why we must all work together to protect the free and open internet.
Jared Polis is a Democratic candidate for Governor of Colorado and currently serves as the US Representative. UU For the Second District of Colorado.
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