This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Public hearing on Future of the Internet I’m Cindy Gomez, editor of the High Plains Reader , the only weekly alternative newspaper operating in the Fargo-‐Moorhead region, on the border of ND/MN. I also represent the People’s Press Project, the non-‐profit arm of the newspaper, which is a media justice organization providing media training, development of journalists, and media access projects in the community. Both the High Plains Reader and the People’s Press Project are members of Mag-‐net. I’m here to urge the FCC to implement the Universal Broadband plan and pass strong net neutrality rules, because if telecoms are allowed to run the internet without regulation they will have the power to snuff out independent media. For example, the Fargo Forum, our competitor, is a large newspaper which owns the majority of the media in the region ( TV, Radio, and News). They are also an ISP. Many stories that are not picked up by the Forum owned media outlets are only seen in the pages of the High Plains Reader. If they – like unregulated telecoms-‐ are allowed to control price standards, speed, or content, they can easily silence the voices of independent media like HPR – and the people who depend on us to tell their stories. As a journalist, I’m also concerned that many telecoms are also media sources or ally themselves with political groups. Their ability to restrict unwanted or unpopular news is very frightening. It smacks of censorship and big brother. Lack of FCC oversight and strong rules to preserve net neutrality will also set back the work of the People’s Press Project by creating a cast system in internet users – with those who can’t afford to pay, being left behind. Telcom’s can’t have it both ways! We’ve already heard and will hear more examples of telcom abuses – and these are only the tip of the iceberg. With their unlimited resources, telecoms could easily afford to improve their networks and build usage. If they are allowed to skirt their responsibilities to customers, they will cut off the natural growth that should exist in a competitive market. Without regulations and oversight, why would telecoms improve
their networks if they can instead, just dial down the volume to their customers? Allowing telecoms to put a meter on the internet is more than scary, it’s dangerous. A danger to education, communication, innovation and small businesses like the High Plains Reader. So today, I ask you to ACT NOW to stop the internet from becoming a “commodity for the wealthy” instead of what it should be -‐ -‐ a tool for all people.