According to The Hill and other political news outlet, the US Federal Communications Commission will vote in February whether it will “preempt two state laws restricting cities from building municipally owned high-speed Internet networks”.
In Iowa today, President Obama will launch a campaign to make high speed internet access more widely available. “As part of the package, he will call on the FCC to preempt states across the country that set up roadblocks to communities expanding city-owned networks. Nineteen states place such restrictions on municipalities building out their broadband networks.” (Ibid.)
The San Francisco Chronicle explained that Obama stands “at odds with major cable and telephone companies such as AT&T, Comcast and Time Warner Cable Inc. that currently provide Internet service, often with little or no competition.” The President also purports that high speed internet access ought to be treated like other utilities – as “a necessity, not a luxury.” (SF Chronicle).
I agree. So do many others. The Guardian cited a Pew survey and made the following comment:
“54% of teachers said that all or almost all of their students had access to digital tools such as computer and internet connection at school. Only 18% said the students had similar access to such tools at home. More than half of the teachers of the lowest income students, at 56%, said that students’ lack of resources presents a major challenge to incorporating computers into their teaching. For teachers of students from mostly lower-middle income, that number was 48%.
Despite understanding that students face limited access, 79% of teachers said they have their students access or download assignments from an online site and 76% have students submit those assignments the same way. Other ways teachers ask their students to use internet include posting their work to a website or a blog (40%), participating in online discussions (39%), and editing their classmates’ work through web-enabled sharing tools such as Google Docs (29%).”
In my view, the only reason to be against a freer and more accessible internet is if you are getting kickbacks from an ISP. Being against a free and widely-accessible internet is like being against libraries. It’s like being against the concept of sharing knowledge and ideas. It’s almost like being against progress itself. Almost.