About net neu­tral­ity

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - VOICES -

The straw ar­gu­ment, which is all they have to sup­port their po­si­tion that’s be­ing used to re­move the Ti­tle II rule from the FCC for our In­ter­net, is the same one that’s been used to con­vince peo­ple to go against their own best in­ter­ests with health in­sur­ance: “Why should I pay for some­thing I don’t use?”

In the first place, we cur­rently do not pay for con­tent on the In­ter­net; we pay for ac­cess and speed. Yet the Amer­i­can En­ter­prise In­sti­tute would have us be­lieve that we have to pay for con­tent. That would be the case if the pro­tec­tions of Ti­tle II of the Tele­com Act are re­moved.

When­ever some­thing like in­sur­ance or ca­ble TV is sliced up into seg­ments and charged in­di­vid­u­ally, the costs to the con­sumer in­crease. Take, for ex­am­ple, a pie cost­ing $100 sliced into 100 pieces, with each slice cost­ing $1. That same pie sliced into 10 pieces in­creases cost per slice by a fac­tor of 10. Ca­ble does this with pro­gram­ming by slic­ing up pop­u­lar con­tent into mul­ti­ple pack­ages, in­creas­ing con­sumer costs while fat­ten­ing their bank ac­counts. Many ca­ble providers such as Com­cast, AT&T and Time-Warner are also be­ing al­lowed to own con­tent, like Com­cast own­ing NBC and MSNBC. Dis­ney and Time-Warner also own var­i­ous me­dia, and AT&T is look­ing to buy Time-Warner. They will then show pref­er­en­tial treat­ment to the con­tent they own, which is a mo­nop­oly that should never be al­lowed to ex­ist, as it’s ex­tremely dan­ger­ous to democ­racy— what lit­tle of it that re­mains.

The FCC ac­cepts pub­lic com­ments un­til Mon­day.

JU­DITH ZITKO Hot Springs Vil­lage

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