Yesterday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to end net neutrality, and in so doing moved to drastically change the Internet as we know it. Net neutrality is the idea that all internet traffic is treated equally. With the FCC’s repeal of this principle, broadband providers and network carriers have the power to charge us more to visit certain websites and use certain services, while slowing down or blocking our access to others. In other words, we all will likely pay more to use the Internet, while big communications companies make a lot more money.
To make matters worse, an investigation by a state Attorney General has revealed that a million stolen identities were used to post comments in support of ending net neutrality on the FCC’s website. This fraudulent conduct – intended to convince the FCC that public opinion was in favor of the repeal – completely undercuts the legitimacy of the FCC’s actions.
Attorneys General in a number of states are going to sue the FCC to block this move since it hurts average consumers, as well as small businesses and startups that rely upon the internet being an equal playing field. They also will continue investigating the massive identity theft that corrupted the FCC’s process. These lawsuits will have to play out before we see the actual impact of yesterday’s decision.
The current Colorado AG has not spoken out on net neutrality – and likely will not do so until she determines what position is to her political advantage. But this issue is too important for politics to play a role. As Attorney General, I will fight for net neutrality because a free and open Internet is an essential part of our everyday lives. At the state and local level, we must protect the Internet to preserve the free exchange of information and commerce.