Open Letter to Marsha Blackburn

Open Letter to Marsha Blackburn

Feb 2014:

Congressman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) issued the following statement in response to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s net neutrality announcement.

“The last thing we need right now is more bureaucratic overregulation that will discourage innovation, hurt competition, and serve as an industry job-killer. Instead, we should be working with industry to encourage more innovation and job creation in the virtual space. This administration needs to stop mimicking some of the most restrictive policies of countries like China. Federal control of the Internet will restrict our online freedom and leave Americans facing the same horrors that they have experienced with HealthCare.gov. Since it is clear that FCC Chairman Wheeler is on a crusade to implement these socialistic regulations, I will soon be introducing legislation to block these efforts and protect Internet freedom for consumers.” – See more at: http://blackburn.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=370181#sthash.3IBv3sqc.dpuf

 

Dear Ms. Blackburn:

 

I respect the work you do as one of our country’s legislators. I believe I have even seen you speak a time or two here in Tennessee. I am a conservative but I am also a firm believer in Net Neutrality. I believe in businesses’ ability to have freedom to innovate and grow – and limited government involvement – except in where there are cases of abuse. Then I believe the government MUST step in and regulate.

Here’s why I believe Net Neutrality is a MUST:

Left to it’s own devices, an ISP WILL stifle traffic.  Take for example, NetFlix on Comcast. Comcast was insistant it would abide by Net Neutrality guidelines.  Comcast had to abide by the guidelines of it’s merger with NBC. And yet…I had NetFlix for 2 years and it progressively got WORSE, I could not even watch a full episode of a TV show without streaming issues. I had dialogues with NetFlix and Comcast. Comcast even wanted to charge me $9.99 for a “premium” solution. I bought a $200 router from Cisco in an attempt to follow Comcast’s suggestion that it was my router. I have their Extreme 105 $108 dollar internet service. And yet…my family could not use NetFlix.

However…Hulu+ – which Comcast has an ownership stake in – works GREAT! Amazing! Then just a few weeks ago Comcast and Netflix inked a deal that involved Netflix paying Comcast money to stream…and voila…instant improvement.

Comcast broadband subscribers are already enjoying better Netflix streaming performance just two weeks after the companies struck an agreement to directly connect their networks — and Netflix says even better performance is on the way.

http://time.com/19350/netflix-comcast-speed/

That’s interesting for a problem that Comcast claims didn’t exist. I spent 150+ on Netflix believing I was getting a good deal until I couldn’t stream anymore last year.  Whether Comcast admits it or not, they were violating the spirit of the FCC Net Neutrality Doctrine – and to some degree even now by solving the issue with the Netflix payout – is admitting the issue. They may not have the words to admit it but their actions speak louder.  

Then take the case of Net Neutrality itself. Comcast hired people – homeless people – off the streets to fill a room in order to edge out opponents of Net Neutrality at an FCC hearing

Comcast Hires People Off The Street To Fill Seats At FCC Hearing

from the better-to-keep-out-those-net-neutrality-hippies dept

We pretty much ignored yesterday’s FCC hearing concerning Comcast’s traffic shaping activities, as the whole thing seemed like a bit of grandstanding. However, it’s fairly stunning to find out that Comcast has admitted to hiring people off the street to fill seats at the hearing, blocking out many Comcast critics who were turned away once the room was full. Comcast claims that they hired the people merely to act as placeholders for Comcast employees (since, apparently, Comcast employees are too important to actually show up on time and wait in line like everyone else). However, as the picture at that first link shows many of the “paid” sitters stayed throughout the event and either slept or cheered on Comcast.

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20080226/144346360.shtml

This is pretty much the ONLY issue I side with the Obama administration on – and they are right. There HAS to be some form of government regulation when big business admits to abuse, as seen here.

Looking ahead, there are other issue stifling growth of the Internet that may come to Tennessee – as Nashville is on Google Fiber’s short list of cities to expand into, we can look at Kansas City and how the government is stepping in on a local level and trying to stop expansion of the potential for high speed internet growth:

Except with regard to unserved areas, a municipality may not, directly or indirectly:

(1) Offer to provide to one or more subscribers, video, telecommunications or broadband service; or

(2) purchase, lease, construct, maintain or operate any facility for the purpose of enabling a private business or entity to offer, provide, carry, or deliver video, telecommunications or broadband service to one or more subscribers.

 

http://consumerist.com/2014/01/30/kansas-legislature-wants-to-stop-any-other-kansas-cities-from-getting-google-fiber/

Barring Municipal internet also stifles growth.

While I can appreciate your stance on not allowing government intervention with the internet, there must be SOME kind of regulation involved, and I believe Net Neutrality is a good start. I kindly ask you to consider this constituent’s view – one of your voters.

 

Ron Hall

Nashville, TN