Why would you oppose net neutrality?

Nov. 30, 2017 | G. Michael Dobbs

As I’ve stated many times in this column, there are many things that confuse me and the current debate over net neutrality is one of them.

If you believe in free speech wouldn’t you want equality over the Internet? Do you really want an Internet provider deciding what sites or services are made easy to reach and those others made difficult to view?

If you see the value of Internet access the same as access to electricity or telephone service, wouldn’t you want it to be regulated like the utility it has become?

If you are pro-innovation, pro-small business, why would you want to make the Internet a far more difficult place on which to do business?

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is now considering a proposal from its new chair Ajit Pai, appointed by President Donald Trump, that would eliminate the net neutrality regulations imposed by the FCC under President Barack Obama.

Without those regulations, Internet service providers such as Verizon, AT&T, Charter and Comcast could speed up or slow down the downloading of certain webs sites or block others.

It’s like taking a free highway and turning it into a toll road.

Interestingly enough, Google, Amazon, Netflix and Facebook are opposed to the change.

According to a statement from Pai, “In 2015, the prior FCC bowed to pressure from President Obama. On a party-line vote, it imposed heavy-handed, utility-style regulations upon the Internet. That decision was a mistake. It’s depressed investment in building and expanding broadband networks and deterred innovation. Today, I have shared with my colleagues a draft order that would abandon this failed approach.”

So Pai maintains that erecting a toll road would actually improve business conditions for expansion. Does that make any sense to you?

I believe this is an issue that should unite people from all political sides. Do you really want a company to block your website because someone doesn’t agree with it? Do you want your small business to suffer because an Internet provider has decided to slow down the download speed of your website?

What is being proposed is decidedly un-American in my book: a restriction of speech and trade.

If you would like to send Pai and the FCC a message, considering doing so before Dec. 14 by going to http://act.freepress.net/sign/internet_wake_up_destroy/.

Inside info

I get a lot of press releases and media advisories but seldom do I get one like this: “Representative Geoff Diehl, candidate for United States Senate, will make his biggest announcement on Tuesday. What: Geoff Diehl, candidate for U.S. Senate, holds big press conference; When: Tuesday, Nov. 28 Where: F1 Boston; 290 Wood Road, Braintree; Time: 11:30 a.m.”

Now here is a tip to the folks who are handling Diehl’s campaign. Obviously you’ve not done too much of this kind of work in the past.

There are a lot of media outlets that would be reluctant to drive across the Commonwealth to cover your event just because of limited time and resources. The only way to actually get coverage is to tell them through an embargoed release what the “biggest announcement” is about. Do you understand the phrase “embargoed press release?” If not, it means you’ve got a secret and you’re telling the press not to reveal it until a certain date and time and nearly everyone will observe that restriction. Hey that’s a pretty cool device to use, isn’t it?

There is a ton of hyperbole out there so when a phrase such as “biggest announcement” is used, the last thing you want smarty-pants reporters and editors trying to do is guess. It’s a great newsroom game.

So I waited to complete this column until the release of his announcement, and drum roll please, he bought a RV in which to campaign across the Commonwealth.

That’s scarcely news. I’m glad I did not travel across the state for that exercise.

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