Internet access matters to all of us in Mountainair. My thanks to Hakim Bellamy for sharing this. Short notice to be sure but please try to attend the town hall meeting. read Commissioner Copps' Op-Ed in Monday's Albuquerque Journal and more information about tonight's townhall ~ Tuesday beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Albuquerque Journal Theater in the National Hispanic Cultural Center, 1701 4th Street SW.
Open Internet Needed for All, Monday, November 15, 2010, Op-Ed
Federal Communications Commissioner writes:
The Internet was born on openness, has flourished on openness and depends on openness to realize its full potential. And its potential is so great. This incredible technology intersects with just about every great challenge confronting our nation — whether it's jobs, education, energy, climate change and the environment, news, international competitiveness, health care or equal opportunity.
There's no solution for any of these challenges that does not have a broadband component to it. We now have a technology with near limitless potential and are just beginning to truly harness its full ability.
But online freedom of Americans is at risk.
Right now, there are a few companies that have the ability to control what we see and do online, with or without our knowledge. The players that control access to the wonders of the Internet tell us not to worry because surely they can agree among themselves to behave appropriately.
History teaches us, however, that when technological capability to exercise control combines with a financial incentive to do so, some will try to turn this power to their own advantage. So how can we say with certainty that their business plans and network engineering are not going to interfere with our online freedom?
Some of us at the Federal Communications Commission have been considering how to ensure that we all continue to have access to lawful information, services and applications available on the Internet, without their service provider blocking or degrading such access or favoring some content (such as their own) over others.
This is not about regulating the Internet. This is about ensuring that consumers — rather than gatekeeper corporations — maintain control over their online experience.
Consumers need the FCC as referee to call the fouls when the free market is being manipulated — and to ensure that every American can reap the benefits of the open Internet. Too often it is the individuals who stand to gain the most from the tools and technologies of the 21st century that are being left behind. I am reminded as I head to the National Congress of American Indians this week in Albuquerque that less than 10 percent of Indian Country has broadband access and 30 percent of Native American households don't even have access to basic telephone service. That's not just unacceptable, it's a national disgrace. America cannot afford to have a digital divide between haves and have-nots or between those living in big cities and rural areas or tribal lands.
The conversation about bringing broadband to every corner of the country and protecting consumers and their access to the open Internet is an important one — one that should not occur just in Washington, D.C. After all, this is about keeping the Internet open for new entrants, small companies and people of all backgrounds across our great nation. This is about people with limited access to capital and about minorities and women, people living on tribal lands or in inner cities, who have waited for too long for real opportunities in the traditional communications space to have equal opportunities on the Internet.
So that's why I'm here in Albuquerque: to hear from you.
I'll be participating in a town hall meeting to discuss the future of the Internet with the public organized by Free Press, the Center for Media Justice and the Media Literacy Project. I hope you'll join us on Tuesday beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Albuquerque Journal Theater in the National Hispanic Cultural Center, 1701 4th Street SW.
Read more: ABQJOURNAL OPINION/GUEST_COLUMNS: Open Internet Needed for All