Massie Statement on Net Neutrality
The FCC should not repeal the "Net Neutrality" rule adopted in 2015.
But if it does, Massachusetts can and should push back. Right now, towns, cities, even the entire Commonwealth itself, could build and own internet infrastructure as a public utility and absolutely guarantee net neutrality and equal access for all.
If the big corporate owners of the Internet’s physical infrastructure can decide who gets special treatment, and who does not, we will all pay. This is yet another way in which Donald Trump is gutting protections against corporate power so that mammoth companies can once again put profits over people. Abandoning net neutrality will also hinder us from hearing all voices, and further imperil our democracy.
Following the example of consumer and free speech advocates, we must fight for net neutrality to make sure that those with wealth, who already have immense advantages, are not allowed to choke off the free flow of information. Telecommunications companies and cable providers must not act as gatekeepers for ideas and opinions on the Internet any more than foxes should guard chicken coops.
The Internet isn’t just a technological advancement; it is an essential component of human liberty in the 21st century. Access to the internet for education, commerce, communications and political expression is essential to every resident of our country and commonwealth, and anyone deprived of open access is put at a steep disadvantage.
If elected governor, I would put the resources of the Commonwealth behind helping cities and towns to build their own internet infrastructure - the wires that connect us - and run them for the public good. In other words, internet is a public utility. In some places, this could be combined with building new municipal energy generation, so that both electricity and internet service could be supplied by a local, democratically controlled public utility.
These and other measures would insure net neutrality for Massachusetts residents. We could also bring hi-speed internet services to areas of the state that Comcast and Verizon have failed miserably failed. This would help close the digital divide. It would keep our money circulating locally rather than sending our money to cable and telecom corporate behemoths.
This is just one way we can restructure our local economy to work for our residents and our small businesses -- and, given the diffused nature of business and work in the information economy, to build an economy that works for everyone.