Governor Brown - Please sign SB 822 for Open Internet
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Governor Brown - Please sign SB 822 for Open Internet

Posted September 7th, 2018 by seanm

Access Humboldt asks Governor Brown to sign SB 822 - California Net Neutrality Act

Strongest consumer protections in the nation were adopted by California Legislature and are now on Governor's desk. Today Access Humboldt transmitted a letter to Governor Brown requesting that he sign the California Net Neutrality Act of 2018. Here is the content of that letter:

September 7, 2018

Aloha Governor Brown and other interested folks:

SB 822 (Wiener and De Leon) – Request for Signature Letter


Open networks connect remote rural communities to essential services

On one side of the digital divide, you’ll see well-connected populations with fast internet service, often called broadband. On the other side of the divide, you’ll see folks who are older, more culturally and racially diverse, less financially secure, less educated. And--throughout the nation--you’ll see all kinds of people in rural communities where broadband service is less available, less reliable, and much more expensive than it is in cities and suburbs.

While most Americans have access to broadband, more than a third of rural people do not have access to an internet service adequate to meet today’s needs. When was the last time you tried landline dial-up internet service? For many rural residents, it was today.

In rural areas, with inferior networks and the scarcity of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) limiting choice and competition, strong Open Internet protections are critical and must be strong enough to ensure that ISPs do not block websites and applications or throttle web traffic.

As with the failures of rural call completion, these profiteering practices make rural broadband connections less functional and reliable, thereby deepening digital--cultural and economic--divides that impede our progress, leaving rural communities behind.

Out here in the country, we have seen large consolidated industry players reap huge profits. And we know that small community-based networks are among the best for price and performance. So we question claims of absentee owners of ISPs who flock to the State Capital and tell elected officials that rural folks don’t care about open networks. That’s just not true.

Rural folks know that Open Internet is critical to our daily lives:

It keeps public health and safety agencies better informed and allows them to respond more quickly. It builds community resilience.

It broadens and strengthens education and training options for lifelong learning and occupational advancement.

It creates economic opportunity by enhancing the marketplace of ideas and fostering more efficient transactions.

It eases access to culture and arts, helping people understand and appreciate their own lives and those of people whose experiences are vastly different.

It bolsters civic engagement by fostering transparency and accountability, promoting participation, enhancing access to governmental resources, protecting civil liberties and promoting justice.

In short, the reliable equitable broadband service of an Open Internet helps every facet of life fulfill its potential. Rural folks, who need it more than most, definitely know that.

So, as rural folks, and on behalf of our communities, we invite you to consider our side of the divide. And we ask you: Please sign a letter endorsing SB 822, the California Net Neutrality Act of 2018.

Here below is our one page justification. Please feel free to contact me if we can provide any additional perspective on this or related issues before you.

Sean Taketa McLaughlin

Executive Director
Access Humboldt
P.O. Box 157, Eureka, CA 95502
tel: 707-476-1798
cel: ...
DC: ...



For the public, for education and for local government purposes:

Public Health, Safety and Community Resilience

Diverse geography and long distances give rural communities unique challenges to meet basic needs for social services including health care, police, fire and emergency responders. Where resources are thin there is a special need for community-wide response to recover from natural disasters. Open networks allow people to connect directly with agencies that provide local services, information and products. Closed networks restrict and monetize those connections.

Education and Training - Lifelong Learning

Access to education opportunities is increasingly linked to fast internet access. Open, unrestricted broadband connections empower local experts to share their knowledge across the community and beyond. Local knowledge and unique digital archives of historic and cultural significance can be hosted and shared with robust and open connections. Closed networks allow ISPs to restrict and further monetize access. Local information resources become less available and more costly to deliver, favoring distant owners and only profitable, well funded ideas.

Economic Opportunity- Marketplace of Ideas and Transactions

Rural economies include most of our natural resources and management of those resources increasingly relies upon fast connections to support diverse economic activity and public uses.

Just like big box retail outlets impact locally owned businesses, a closed internet (without Net Neutrality) will bias traffic away from rural services and products, concentrating the market power in corporate centers tied to the network owner. Open Internet supports open markets.

Culture and Arts - Past, Present, Future

Network neutrality and open access are particularly vital for the creative economies of rural and remote communities where innovation and diverse cultures thrive. Many artist inventors are rural. Closed networks reduce diversity by creating barriers to enter the marketplace of ideas.

Rural areas generally have less access to all forms of media, not just broadband. Therefore, open and unfiltered access to all information online is vitally important for rural communities.

Civic Engagement - Liberty and Justice

Lacking net neutrality protections, private network providers become the gatekeepers between consumers, businesses, nonprofits and public agencies and the people they serve. Closed networks direct people to advertising or whatever content most benefits the network owner. Open networks support freedom of information and expression, essential human rights.

For more information, contact Sean Taketa McLaughlin e:


Access Humboldt is a non-profit, community media & broadband access organization serving the residents and local jurisdictions of Humboldt County on the North Coast of California USA, managing resources that include: cable access TV channels; KZZH FM 96.7 community radio; a wide area broadband network with dedicated optic fiber connections to twenty locations serving local jurisdictions and community anchor institutions; broadband access wireless networks; a Community Media Center with studio and other production equipment and training on the Eureka High School campus; and ongoing operational support for public, educational and governmental access media services.


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