Andy Shirtliff – I will fight for Net Neutrality on the PSC

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When elected to the Montana PSC, I will fight for Net Neutrality to ensure your access to an internet that is free from throttling, and open to all.” – Andy Shirtliff

Written by: Andy Shirtliff, candidate for the Montana Public Service Commission

At midnight last night, our right to access a free and open internet died with the repeal of Net Neutrality; companies who once would have been fined for tampering with their delivery will now have the ability to throttle their speeds and discriminate in favor of one user or business over another.

“In December, the Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal its net neutrality rules for Internet providers — a move aimed at deregulate the industry and allow companies such as AT&T and Verizon to legally slow down websites, block apps and even charge content companies extra fees for priority access to consumers’ screens.” – Brian Fung, The Washington Post

This issue is the First Amendment fight for the 21st century, and we just had our rights stripped away; as one of the dissenting votes, FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn stated:

The FCC is handing the keys to the internet to a handful of multi-billion corporations.”

The repeal of Net Neutrality will affect not just Montanans, but our students and our businesses, as well as our rural communities and our sovereign tribal nations.

Businesses all over Montana rely on steady internet access and we must ensure net neutrality, and with the recent closures of post offices, rural Montana depends on open internet access to stay in touch, get the news, and ship their products.

“Internet freedom is a cornerstone of modern society. We expect it, we rely on it

and as Governor I’ll work to protect it #NetNeutrality” – Steve Bullock, Governor

I commend Governor Steve Bullock for making Montana the first state in the Nation to protect our right to access a free and open internet, unfortunately, the current PSC Chairman Brad Johnson sides with PSC Commissioner Roger Koopman, who thought it “bizarre” that the internet, which is used every day by the majority of Montanans, was considered a public utility, and the real threats of throttling and blocking, “boogeyman.”

The Montana Public Service Commission should instead be removing barriers and allow free and open access to our internet, so our students may learn, our Main Street businesses may thrive, and rural Montana can prosper.

When elected to the Montana PSC, I will fight for Net Neutrality to ensure your access to an internet that is free from throttling, and open to all.

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