I was troubled by Sen. Maria Cantwell's introduction last month of the Orwellian-named Internet Freedom, Broadband Promotion, and Consumer Protection Act of 2011.
This legislation will harm our sputtering economic recovery by discouraging Internet and broadband providers from investing in the updating of networks and expanding availability.
While network neutrality sounds like a noble goal, the true effect of her legislation will be network regulation. As a small-business owner and former Internet executive, I believe that, if enacted, this legislation will lead to less innovation, less investment, and ultimately, less access for most people.
At a time when President Barack Obama is urging businesses to get in the game, additional regulation will cause most to continue to sit on the sidelines.
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Broadband providers have made significant investments in our state: Qwest and CenturyLink will be investing upward of $80 billion in broadband infrastructure in Washington over the next five years. AT&T invested more than $1.1 billion in its Washington networks between 2007 and 2009.
Cantwell’s bill will have a chilling effect on future investment and job growth in our state. The Internet, and access to it, is flourishing.
Unneeded regulation will stifle and inhibit growth. Competition has proven to be an excellent motivator for providers to continue to update their products and services. Small businesses depend on that competition.
It is one tool that allows them to offer services that appeal to consumers. Regulating something for the sake of regulating makes no sense. I encourage the defeat of this misguided legislation.