Opinion: In net neutrality debate, freedom of information is under attack

The Denver Post: Friends and family in this great state of Colorado, we are facing one of the greatest challenges to freedom of our time, and it is all happening under our noses.

On Tuesday, the Federal Communications Commission, led by Commissioner Ajit Pai, will likely vote to roll back Title II net neutrality protections, which have yet to be enshrined in law by Congress.

Net neutrality is a simple concept that exists to protect consumers and businesses that use and operate telecom-based services. Its basic tenet is that no service provider can favor one type of traffic or data over another. As it applies to the internet, it means that no internet service provider (ISP) can slow down or speed up data based on what it contains. It means that Comcast can’t charge you more to access LinkedIn. Additionally, a service provider cannot make Netflix pay to get full-speed video to your home. Without net neutrality, these protections would be gone, and we would be at the mercy of our ISPs.

On its surface this is an economic problem, and one that cuts across partisan lines. An ISP could charge extra to access your favorite sites. Or if I started an internet-based business, I might have to pay my ISP extra to reach my customers with an innovative solution. As someone who grew up with open access to the web, and now makes a living digitally, both of these ideas are incredibly scary to me. The internet is one of the greatest inventions in human history. It should be treated as a fundamental utility, not as a pay-to-play marketplace.

This state has benefited economically from the incredible growth of the internet. Colorado is home to some of the largest technology and internet startups in the country. Internet-based companies employ tens of thousands in our state alone, and could be devastated by this ruling.

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