Wednesday, August 2, 2017

To Senator Rubio (Net Neutrality)

            At the beginning of the year I wrote to one of my state’s senators, Marco Rubio.  The letter dealt with the awful treatment of refugees and immigrants into the United States.  Senator Rubio’s office replied to that letter shortly thereafter, with a reply I found lacking.
            A couple weeks ago, I wrote another letter to Senator Rubio concerning Net Neutrality.  I thought to write another on the topic of Healthcare, and another still on the topic of the Russia, but decided on Net Neutrality as the first to prioritize.
            As I explain in the letter, and this was a physical letter, not an email, it will take up some space on a desk before being read by an underappreciated staffer, and then responded to by an underappreciated staffer.  As I explained in the letter, Net Neutrality is important to keeping the internet the free and open space that is it, and by not enforcing its status as a natural monopoly a dangerous status quo would emerge.
            I made comparisons to the Enron crisis which emerged as a result of a natural monopoly like power supply being turned into a “free market” boondoggle, and how little faith I have in the current head of the FCC.
            Feel free to utilize my letter as a template and send it to the elected official of your choice on the issue.  I am sure there are many state regulations that could be utilized to prevent Net Neutrality from rolling up completely in many areas and many federal officials that could slow the dissolution of current protections.  The Letter is presented below.
            If you like or hate this please take the time to comment, +1, share on Twitter (click that link to follow me), Tumblr, or Facebook, and otherwise distribute my opinion to the world.  I would appreciate it.

Masters of Applied American Politics and Policy
Masters of Urban and Regional Planning
Masters of International Affairs
(Contact Information)

July 13, 2017

Senator Marco Antonio Rubio
Junior United States Senator of Florida
284 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington DC, 20510

To Senator Rubio,

Senator, I am filled with a growing concern for the state of net neutrality in the United States.

It is my sincere belief that greater protections for the internet as a utility is necessary for small businesses to thrive within it, and to maintain the free movement of information and commerce thru it.

Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission Ajit Varadaraj Pai strikes me as an untrustworthy guardian of net neutrality.  If he dissolves the current protections it will hand a tremendous amount of power to large firms in the telecommunications industry.  Far more power than any government or citizen should be comfortable with them having.

The internet, much like water and electricity, should be viewed as a natural monopoly and regulated as such.  Limited competition and price regulation insure a stable and uniform experience for users and preventing internet providers from extorting web based companies for access to their customers.

Control of communications, ranging from what news people can read, to what shows they can watch, and even to what stores they can shop from is a tremendous power.  It would be dangerous to trust this power entirely to the open market without oversight.  The only comparison I could make is to the Enron fiasco, during which the trade of energy was chaotic and resulted in costs exploding and service being erratic.

While I know, that on a philosophical level, choice is lauded by the Republican party and regulation is seen as a burden.  I feel that the choices that would be offered without proper regulation would be no choice for many people.

Regulation in this instance should be seen less as a burden and more analogous to brakes and seatbelts.  Attributes that are needed to ensure greater control and safety.  Regulations should be clear, uniform, and efficient, but not abolished.

One only need look at how Comcast has provided such limited and pricey options for their cable, phone, and internet service to envision how abusive an untethered industry would become.

Ultimately, I would prefer the internet to become as ubiquitous in this nation as phones and TV.  For it to continue to grow into the completely accessible source of information that people can depend upon.  The government should work to make sure the internet is provided to all citizenry in a uniform manner, as an open marketplace of ideas and products, not to be manipulated by those industries who provide access to it.

Thank you for your time,

Masters of Applied American Politics and Policy
Masters of Urban and Regional Planning
Masters of International Affairs

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