Letter to the Editor - Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality - Most of us use our computers, phones and tablets to access the web, but few of us know how it works.  We type a few words or we touch an icon and what we are interested in magically appears.  From its creation, the internet’s DNA has always been to provide free, open and equal access to all content.  In the middle of December, the recently appointed Chair of the FCC, Ajit Pai, cast the deciding vote that ended the Obama era rules requiring internet providers to treat all content equally.  Setting aside the net neutrality rule has long been the dream of large cable and telecommunication companies.  It is therefore not surprising that Mr. Pai  worked for Verizon prior to his appointment to the FCC by President Trump.

 What does the violation of the net neutrality rule look like and why should we care?  The Madison River Communications company was fined  $15,000 by the FCC in 2004 for restricting their customers' access to Vonage, which was rivaling their own services. AT&T was caught limiting access to FaceTime, so only those users who paid for AT&T's new shared data plans could access the application.  By controlling the speed and/or access to your content, the large internet service providers will now have the ability to limit competition or to create “premium” services which will mean that you will have to pay more for the content that you use the most.  If you were a fan of the bundling options and pricing of your cable company, then you will be a fan of the new rule.

 This is why I applaud Michael Perez of Machias’ Axiom Technologies for stating  that “prioritizing and/or filtering content is not in the spirit of free and open access, and we are opposed to such content manipulation.”

 Jeffrey Lovit

Addison, Maine