GUEST COMMENTARY: Alaska telecoms committed to open internet

We are writing to assure you and all Alaskans that we are committed to the principles of net neutrality.

We do not block websites.

We do not censor content.

We do not throttle, discriminate, or degrade network performance based on content.

These core tenets of Net Neutrality define our networks and the internet access we offer Alaskans.

The internet has become essential to most Alaskans. And it’s done so, for the most part, with very few—but often changing—rules. Regulators under four different presidents have taken four different approaches. Courts have overturned regulatory decisions. Regulators have reversed their predecessors. This continual back and forth is especially difficult for Alaska’s providers, many of which are small businesses and cooperatives, who find themselves whipsawed by this parade of regulatory regimes.

They struggle to assess and meet ever-changing regulations, while continuing to build and operate critical networks in some of the most challenging environments on Earth.

Attempting to ensure net neutrality through the Congressional Review Act will not appropriately address the uncertainties surrounding net neutrality, it will compound them. Solidifying the FCC’s 2015 order does not guarantee privacy and risks imposing tremendous regulatory burden on Alaska’s broadband providers, which would divert critical resources from broadband service across rural Alaska to regulatory compliance.

We join Alaska’s congressional delegation in calling for legislative action by Congress. Only legislation can ensure consumers’ rights are protected and provide consistent rules of the road for all internet companies across all websites, content, devices and applications. It is time for Congress to end the debate once and for all, by writing new laws that govern the internet and protect consumers.

Until Congress acts, be assured of the commitment of all Alaska Telecom Association members to provide an open internet to Alaskans.

Christine O’Connor is the executive director of the Alaska Telecom Association. Dave Goggins is the president of ATA. Alaska Telecom Association members include Adak Telephone Utility, Alaska Communications, Alaska Power &Telephone Company, Arctic Slope Telephone Association Cooperative, Bristol Bay Telephone Cooperative, Bush-Tell, Copper Valley Telephone Cooperative, Cordova Telephone Cooperative, GCI Liberty, KPU Telecommunications, Matanuska Telephone Association, Nushagak Cooperative, OTZ Telephone Cooperative, Summit Telephone Company, TelAlaska and United Utilities.

Updated: 
05/30/2018 - 10:46am

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