Who Controls the Internet?
The internet is a revolutionary force in our lives because it operates democratically. All users are treated equally, and access to all legal content is guaranteed to everyone with a connection. Control over such an important public resource needs to be democratic, accountable, and responsive. Local utilities are controlled by our local elected representatives, allowing us to guard against some of the worst abuses of giant telecoms.
Here are just a few examples of why we need local accountability.
If we weren't living in Washington State, your Internet Service Provider could block your access to this website and you would have no legal recourse.
The Federal Communications Commission gave giant telecoms a huge gift by repealing all Net Neutrality protections. Without those protections, your ISP can block which sites you view, or throttle the connection speeds of the sites that don't pay them kickbacks.
A public utility would be controlled by Seattle's democratically-elected representatives, not a profit-driven CEO.
Your Data Shouldn't Be Capped
There is no technical reason to restrict the way you use the internet. Comcast has already admitted their reason behind instituting monthly caps on your internet access: They wanted to increase their profits.
More insidious, by allowing services owned by Comcast to avoid their self-imposed caps, your ISP gives their own services a competitive advantage over newer start ups.
The next big internet start up is being invented right here in Seattle, and there's nothing preventing your ISP from discriminating against it in order to quash true competition.
Lower Prices, Honest Billing
On day one Seattle's public internet utility will be more affordable than the competition. And unlike your current ISP, your rates won't secretly rise month after month.
Before your bill can go up, elected representatives accountable to you would have to approve the increase.
When was the last time you got to vote on whether Comcast raised your monthly bill?
Your Right to Internet Privacy
The nation's telecoms are eager to sell your private browsing data.
We are all already accustomed to huge privacy breaches caused by social media and email providers. Imagine a world where everything you do online is commoditized and sold to the highest bidder.
There are alternatives to Facebook and Gmail if you choose to avoid sites that sell your private data. But your personal connection to the internet? For most of us, there are no alternative providers.
We need an internet utility that will guarantee us privacy while we're browsing the web.