Colorado News Connection

December 7, 2017Available files: mp3 wav jpg

Coloradans Call for Congress to Protect Net Neutrality

Eric Galatas

DENVER - Coloradans are joining a national day of action Thursday, calling on Congress to block the Federal Communications Commission's plans to overturn Obama-era rules that treat the Internet like a utility.

Caroline Fry, advocacy and media manager for Colorado Common Cause, says net neutrality rules prevent Internet service providers, such as Comcast or Verizon, from blocking or slowing down consumer access to websites, and ensure that all online content is treated the same.

"If I go and try to access my friend's website where she sells custom made sweaters, I should be able to access her website in the same way that I am able to go online to Amazon and buy a new toaster," Fry states.

FCC chairman Ajit Pai, a former lawyer for Verizon, maintains regulating the Internet as a utility has slowed investment in broadband networks.

Hundreds of demonstrations are planned across the nation at congressional home offices and Verizon stores.

In Denver, supporters of net neutrality are set to gather at U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner's office Thursday and at Skyline Park on Saturday.

Events also are planned in Boulder, Colorado Springs, Durango, Estes Park, Fort Collins, Pueblo, Salida, Trinidad and Westminster.

Fry argues that treating the Internet like a utility - like electricity, water and telephone service - is important because the Internet has become one of the primary ways Americans communicate and interact in the 21st century.

"You kind of have to have the Internet in order to operate in the workforce, you know, finding a job," she points out. "Everything from taking online classes to obtaining and tracking health insurance."

Nearly 4 million people submitted comments in favor of net neutrality, and according to a recent survey almost 80 percent of Americans want the rules kept in place, including 73 percent of Republicans.

The FCC is set to vote on the proposal next Thursday, Dec. 14.