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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

June 9, 2009 at 3:02 PM

Internet access

Neutrality is misguided

The recent Times’ editorial on network neutrality [“A presidential boost for Internet access,” June 9] asserts that this misguided policy is needed to protect the integrity and growth of the Internet. Nothing could be further from the truth.

What net neutrality proponents aren’t telling us is that this new policy would result in slower connection speeds and more government regulation of a private industry that has seen tremendous growth over the last 15 years.

Free and open access to the Internet indeed helped technology grow and thrive, as your editorial states. But where is the evidence of Internet service providers (ISPs) suppressing innovation and growth? There is none. Only a few countries restrict access to the Internet. The U.S. is not one of them, and government, not the countries’ ISPs, implemented those restrictions.

The fact is that ISPs spend billions improving their networks every year. Consumers in Seattle used to pay $50 a month for a 1.5 Mbps connection — that same consumer can now get 15 Mbps for the same price. That’s improvement — and it didn’t take a government mandate to make it happen.

It is important we expand broadband availability and usage in rural and low-income areas, but net neutrality will not accomplish this goal.

— Carl Gipson, director, Technology and Telecom, Washington Policy Center, Seattle

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