Editor's Notebook: We Need Equal Access Internet

08:26AM Dec 06, 2014
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The Internet is already a utility, and we need to treat it like one. Everyone—regardless of where we live or what we do—should have access to the Internet. Like other utilities, it should  be protected as “net neutrality,” a buzz term being debated these days. The principle is that all Internet traffic is treated equally, to everyone. 

That’s a stark contrast to what companies such as Verizon and Time Warner would like to do, as they strive to muscle in to use “commercially reasonable” traffic management of Internet bandwidth. Broadband Internet service providers (ISPs) shouldn’t be allowed to anoint themselves as gatekeepers of what you can do or see online—or how fast it happens—as a part of their profit-boosting strategies.

Your ISP shouldn’t be allowed to block or degrade access to certain websites or services, nor should it be able to set aside a “fast lane” in which content favored by the ISP loads more quickly than the rest.

Ultimately, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) should guard against profit-driven firms from controlling access to the Internet. At press time, the FCC announced it wouldn’t vote on new neutrality rules before 2015. 

Make no mistake, the Internet is the defining communications platform of the 21st century. It’s the game-changing equivalent of what electricity was to the 20th century. 

Open Internet access is an engine for innovation and information. For the agriculture industry, the utility is mission critical for staying globally competitive. Many of our key competitors have Internet access we can barely imagine. 

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