(Original post July 13 Albany) We’ve all had the frustrating experience of opening Netflix or Hulu and seeing the dreaded “Loading…” screen. That’s a warning sign of what life would be like if the federal government does away with vital net neutrality protections–allowing the broadband industry to put profits ahead of the needs of their own consumers, and charge content providers for access to an internet “fast lane.”
We just have to look at how companies have abused their power in the past to understand the risks New Yorkers would face if net neutrality is rolled back.
My office is undertaking major investigations of broadband companies, reviewing years of internal documents. In February, we filed suit against one of those companies, Spectrum-Time Warner Cable, which serves approximately 2.5 million households in New York State.
Our investigation revealed that slowdowns and service interruptions were often the result of a deliberate business choice by Spectrum-Time Warner Cable to squeeze higher fees out of content providers, like Netflix, and the networks those content providers relied on to reach customers. Meanwhile, New Yorkers who signed up for internet weren’t getting the service and speeds Spectrum-TWC promised and charged them for. That is outrageous.
Unless we stop the federal government’s efforts to gut net neutrality, the Internet will cease being a marketplace of ideas — and instead become just another place where the rich get richer while the rest of us are stuck staring at the “Loading…” screen.
P.S.– I spoke to New York Magazine today about our work to fight for a free and open internet. Take a look and share it with your friends.