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Seattle Times letters to the editor

May 5, 2014 at 6:55 PM

FCC: What a future with a closed Internet could look like

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler announced plans that would put the neutrality of the Internet at risk by accepting Verizon’s version of the Net: Internet service providers (ISPs) charging extra to websites to ensure access — a threat to freedom of speech and information [“Reshape our media landscape and say no to Comcast-Time Warner deal,” Opinion, April 26].

It’s a future where Comcast could decide it didn’t like a news story, so it throttles the speeds coming from that website, making it impractical for its users to see the story.

Microsoft could pay Verizon to give preferential treatment to Bing, forcing users to switch from Google. It’s a reality where ISPs decide what you, the paying customer, can do on the Internet.

The FCC classifies telephone companies as “common carriers” to keep neutrality. There was a push to do the same with ISPs. Then Verizon went to court and its lawyers won, forcing the FCC’s hand. Wheeler’s response was to avoid a fight and give in.

I urge you to fight back against Wheeler’s apathy and push toward classifying ISPs as common carriers. The Internet has become as much a part of daily life as the telephone, the highways, electricity and water. Its future should be not be decided by these ISPs.

Aric Catron, Chehalis

Comments | More in Internet | Topics: Aric Catron, bing, Chairman Tom Wheeler

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