Open Message to Congress on Net Neutrality

I get email. One of the email messages I got yesterday was from Battle for the Net, a group advocating strong net neutrality rules enforced by the FCC under Title II. In the House of Congress, there is a move by Reps. Thune and Upton to propose and pass legislation that claims to establish “net neutrality”, but doesn’t include non-discrimination and simultaneously strips the FCC of significant regulatory power over Internet service providers. Battle for the Net have set up phone calls such that you enter your phone number at their site, and they connect your phone to offices of representatives on the committees holding hearings on this proposed legislation. I did leave messages with three offices through their system yesterday. They provide a script to use. I expanded it for myself. Here’s what I was communicating via the phone system:

This is Dr. Wesley R. Elsberry. I am a computer scientist and citizen
residing in Palmetto, Florida. Your participation in hearings on
Internet “net neutrality” rules came to my attention through “battle
for the net dot com”, whose prepared statement I agree with:

I’m calling because the American people need you to stand up for the
Internet: If you really support Net Neutrality you will let the FCC do
its job and implement meaningful rules. Please DON’T support the
Thune/Upton proposal, which is intended to confuse and undermine this
process.

Further, I support the plan to have the FCC classify Internet service
providers as common carriers under Title II rules. Interference in
this effort is bad for the Internet, for technological advance, for
public participation in government, and is essentially at odds with
free market philosophy. Let me explain that. Net neutrality, despite
what some people have told you, concerns the freedom of the end users,
the consumers of Internet information, to freely choose which
information sources, services, and businesses they wish to use. Common
carrier status for internet service providers will ensure that that
becomes the norm for the Internet. Anything other than common carrier
status opens the door to loopholes, allowing the corporations who
provide end user connections to the Internet to pursue policies that
would favor certain services and businesses over others in the
interest of maximizing profit and shareholder value. The end result is
an Internet where the popularity of particular businesses has more to
do with the deals they make with internet service providers than it
does with what the end users want. We rightly look with scorn upon
government regimes that censor the internet to direct where their
citizens can go and what they can see on the internet. Failure to
ensure net neutrality via FCC Title II regulation guarantees that
silent corporate deals will direct the shape of the internet rather
than the will of end users. I call upon you to put an end to attempts
by corporate interests to usurp the internet free market, and return
the power of the people to determine what they do, or do not, want to
see on the internet. The only way to ensure that is to endorse FCC
common carrier status via Title II for internet service providers.

Such a change not only preserves a free market for the internet, but
also clears the way for real competition in providing broadband
services to the US citizenry. Our country has for too long protected
the profit margins of corporations rather than ensuring the common
weal. The result is that of industrialized countries, the USA is among
those whose citizens pay the most for the least realized
bandwidth. This puts the USA at a direct competitive disadvantage with
other industrialized countries, and is a situation that we can begin
to rectify with the simple action of enforcing Title II for internet
service providers.

Please reject legislative action that reduces FCC oversight of
Internet communications. Please encourage the FCC to take the
long-overdue step of regulating internet service providers as common
carriers under Title II. Thank you for your time.

Wesley R. Elsberry, Ph.D.

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Wesley R. Elsberry

Falconer. Interdisciplinary researcher: biology and computer science. Photographer. Husband. Christian. Activist.

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