Net neutrality is Internet privacy issue of the day

Sue Ann Martinson

In response to a Sept. 16 editorial — “Guard student e-mail privacy” — privacy is an important Internet issue, but privacy is not the only Internet issue. Recently the Federal Communications Commission held a hearing at South High School  in Minneapolis to hear about Internet issues.
The primary problem is what has been dubbed “net neutrality”. It has to do with broadband access for all.
Unfortunately, Google and Verizon are attempting to take over the Internet and support a tiered system for Internet access, meaning the more you pay, the faster Internet you get. Quest’s new tiered program is a perfect example of the tiered approach, but they are not the only major Internet provider proposing tiered Internet access, because they all make more money that way.
On the other side are those who support net neutrality, which means equal speed Internet access for all. There are pockets in this country where cities are offering high-speed Internet for $15 a month to their residents. 
Quest, on the other hand, is asking $60. Oh, they have a special deal for six months, but at the end of those six months, you pay the full price.
The telecommunications companies have huge budgets for lobbying in Congress and make large contributions to Congressional campaigns.
In the meantime, many low-income people in this country are cut out of use of the Internet due to cost. The city of Minneapolis has a program, USI Wireless, for Internet access that falls someplace in-between.  For a somewhat reasonable price you can get good access, if not the speediest. But the cost is still out of the reach of many.
That is just the tip of the iceberg regarding telecommunications and cable access in this country.
Sue Ann Martinson, University alumna