By Paul Theobald
Candidate for Congress, Nebraska’s Third District
The day before the FCC’s disastrous vote to repeal Net Neutrality, 107 Republican congressional representatives sent a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai declaring their support for this repeal. My opponent, Adrian Smith, was one of signers. Since taking office, Smith has received over $165,000 from the telcom industries, so it should come as no surprise that he has once again turned his back on his constituents in order to represent his major corporate donors.
A free and open internet is vital to our democracy. Net neutrality ensured that consumers could access all sites, voices, and media equally. It kept a fair playing field for all. The FCC’s decision to repeal this essential policy ignored the overwhelming support from people all over the country who want their internet to remain free and open. What this means for consumers is that large internet service providers such as Comcast and Time Warner now have the power to bolster or restrict their customers’ access to content online, slicing up and packaging internet sites and speeds at varying rates.
Adrian Smith, my opponent, has received $165,834 from the telecom companies who lobbied hard against net neutrality. Smith has defined, yet again, the Latin phrase “quid pro quo.” Turning his back on his constituents in favor of increasing the profits of out-of-state corporate shareholders, Smith signed a letter urging the Federal Communications Commission to end net neutrality.
There is no upside to ending net neutrality when it comes to the welfare of Nebraska citizens, and we cannot let this stand. Now more than ever, we must fight back against this assault on the free internet. We need representatives in Washington who understand that government should be, first and foremost, responsive to the desires of the people and not the profit motives of corporations.
Media, please consider this for an op/ed or column on the timely issue of net neutrality. Paul Theobald is available for interviews on tv, radio and print.