Could Local Cities Provide Equitable Internet Access?

Staff Writer | The Bellingham Herald | May 8, 2014

The Federal Communications Commission will meet May 15 to consider new rules that would allow Internet service providers to charge premium rates to companies such as Google and Netflix for a guarantee that their content will reach consumers first. If approved, individual consumers in the South Sound and other U.S. communities can expect slower speeds for smaller services, nonprofits and independent content creators. Why pay for the “HOT” lane, unless traffic is backed up on the main line?

While the FCC kowtows to lobbyists from big phone and cable companies that provide Internet access to most Americans, the European Parliament is going the opposite direction. It recently voted 534-25 to prohibit Internet service providers from blocking or slowing down any online content or service. If the FCC votes to effectively end net neutrality, residents of the South Sound do have a potential alternative that is gaining traction elsewhere: turning to local Internet service providers who ride on municipally-owned fiber optic networks...