…i feel like stuffing envelopes.


I recently talked to a couple of my friends who got me fired up about something, again.  However, I think it is important and I have strong feelings about it.  So instead of just yelling at the people within the sound of my voice I’m going to do what my high school civics teacher told us to do in this situation, write a letter.  Now I always feel like I’m on the correct side of an argument, but when it comes to Net Neutrality I especially feel that anyone who disagrees with me really doesn’t know enough about it – or they own a major telecom company.  So I drafted this letter and I’m going to send it to everyone who represents me.  Feel free to copy, paste, and send it to anyone you’d like to as well.

UPDATED: I have reworked my letter so that is – I think – more effective.  Big thanks to Jessica for her help and suggestions.

Dear Lawmaker,

I feel very strongly that the most important issue that will be decided in the next decade is that of Net Neutrality. I am also frightened that we will make the wrong choice. My impression is many do not understand this issue, and that many fallacies surround it. Those who misrepresent the issue suggest that Net Neutrality is a way to stifle business, but this is not the case, and in fact, the opposite is true. Without an open Internet, we would not have had the revolution in business and technology that we have seen since the Internet began and companies like Google, Facebook, and Netflix would not have ever had a chance. Of those who truly understand Net Neutrality, opposition only comes from those who want to raise the barrier to entry for new sites and services and prioritize their own.

I have struggled to find a metaphor that would best describe Net Neutrality and why I oppose it. Imagine if several companies owned the roads we traveled and charged a monthly fee for their use. This is close to how we access the internet now; we pay to travel a given speed across the internet. Now imagine that these companies also owned several businesses on these roads. Currently our use of these roads is unlimited and without any restrictions other than the standard speed we purchase. But these companies don’t just control our roads, they have great incentive to make it easier and faster to travel roads that lead to their businesses. “Drive to our coffee shops for free because you are our customer,” they might say, “but the shop that is on the other side of town – our competitor – you can only drive to at 5mph, or not at all, unless you’d like to pay us a little extra.” It sounds ridiculous, but it is exactly what all the major telecoms would love to do to internet access. As much as they already legally can, they have already begun these sorts of restrictions.

We can’t really blame them for trying, but we have a responsibility to every future internet startup (represented by the small independent coffee shops in our analogy) to keep the playing field level and let the free market thrive. I do not see this as a partisan issue, but ironically, some on the right see Neutrality as a threat to business. Competition is the most important aspect of the free market and the end of Net Neutrality would be a huge threat to innovation and free speech on the web. Recently, the Egyptian government all but shut the internet down in an effort to stifle a rebellion. Government shouldn’t have the power to stop communication, just as businesses shouldn’t have the power to choose what services we use. Is our access to the Internet a right? If so, then it should be ensured legally. Just as privately-controlled utilities are regulated, so should internet access to ensure that no entity has the ability to exclude users, control what content is more or less accessible, or inflate prices.

I do not see this as an issue with shades of grey. Please oppose any threats to complete Neutrality of service and support legislation that ensures a free Internet.

Thank you,


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