Norm Needleman, Essex First Selectman and candidate for the 33rd District State Senate Seat, today expressed his strong support for guaranteeing equal access to Internet websites, information, and entertainment. He spoke just days after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) repealed Federal net neutrality protections.
“The FCC has given a handful of communications companies free reign to decide which Internet services individuals and business can easily access,” said Needleman. “That decision significantly affects how the Internet works for every individual and business in our country, our state, and our district. Giant Internet service providers can now decide which information services and entertainment outlets get preferential access to higher speed delivery. Consumers, small businesses, and educational institutions will pay the price here in Connecticut and across the country.”
ISP’s are now free to manipulate Internet access to suit their own competitive and revenue objectives. They can charge more for access to the “fast lane”, and can limit access to services and outlets that compete with them.
There have been numerous examples of what could become standard practice on the part of the big ISP’s: Verizon Wireless was caught limiting access to Netflix and YouTube; AT&T was caught limiting access to Face Time; and Comcast was caught curtailing access to peer-to-peer file applications.
“A few giant companies should not dictate the content and information we see and how we access the Internet every day,” Needleman continued. “That’s why I will join the non-partisan fight to keep Internet access from being manipulated by a handful of communications companies. The FCC decision will directly impact the residents and businesses in the twelve towns comprising the 33rd district, which don’t have a choice when it comes to modern broadband Internet. A top priority in Connecticut should be legislation that guarantees equal access to the Internet for all individuals and businesses. 29 states have already introduced net neutrality legislation, in direct response to the FCC ruling.
“Net Neutrality is the term that politicians use to characterize this issue. That term disguises the real impact the FCC decision will have on our economy and our daily lives. Internet access costs will rise for both consumers and business, and ISP competitive considerations will play a major role in determining what we see and how we access the Internet. None of this makes sense, and none of it is in the best interest of consumers or businesses. I will be at the leading edge of the fight to make certain that Internet access for individuals and business is delivered on a fair and equitable basis. Common sense needs to prevail over the business interests of a handful of giant communications companies seeking to control access to information and entertainment.”
Norm Needleman has twenty years of public service experience in Essex, including four terms as First Selectman. During his tenure as First Selectman, he led economic development initiatives that made Essex home to over 700 businesses. He balanced budgets and made infrastructure improvements while maintaining one of the lowest property tax rates in the state.
The 33rd State Senate District consists of the towns of Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Portland, Westbrook, and a portion of Old Saybrook.
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