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Today Public Knowledge and 10 other consumer advocacy groups submitted a letter to the Maryland Senate Finance Committee opposing the deregulatory Senate Bill 577. The letter explains that SB 577 will leave Maryland consumers unprotected against rate hikes and poor service quality and will remove Maryland’s state and local authorities from the broader conversation about the future of our changing communications networks.
The following may be attributed to Jodie Griffin, senior staff attorney with Public Knowledge:
“Our nation is currently in the midst of multi-faceted technology transitions to 21st Century networks. There are still many unanswered questions about the future of our communications networks and the role of federal, state, and local authorities in those networks. In the face of these technological and political changes, Maryland must not remove itself from the conversation by tying the hands of its Public Service Commission when so many variables are still unknown.
“The Maryland Public Service Commission must be robustly equipped to handle all of the unanticipated opportunities and challenges that will undoubtedly arise during the course of the transitions, to ensure Maryland residents can continue to rely on communications networks that are as good or better than the networks they have known for decades.
“Maryland’s communications networks allow its citizens to conduct business, contact loved ones, and call for help in emergency situations. These services are too vital to the economic and social health of the state to prohibit the Maryland Public Service Commission from acting to protect consumers, especially in the face of impending technological and political changes. We urge the Senate Finance Committee to ensure Maryland’s communications networks serve five core values: service to all, consumer protection, network reliability, competition and interconnection, and public safety.”
You can read the letter here.