I live in far Northern Maine – past the end of I-95. I would not have been able to earn my BS or MS degree without reliable internet at an acceptable cost. There are no local options for the MS in Cybersecurity that I earned entirely online. I would have to leave for over a week to get my SANS certifications without access to their online training program. And I would have had to drive three hours to take that same certification test if the local community college test center did not have reliable and affordable internet access. There are also no local opportunities for me to network with others in my field. I am completely reliant on affordable access to the internet to grow my knowledge and network – including access to social media and streaming video for online courses. I am also very fortunate to have a well-paying job, unlike many in my area who live at or below the poverty line. How will their children be able to access these same opportunities without affordable internet access?
Most of Maine is rural, and if internet access is available to you there is typically only one option. I live in a town where I have two crappy options at the moment (Spectrum and Fairpoint) and one good local option (Pioneer Wireless). How long will it be until all of those options require pay-to-access? Even our local provider could be forced into the model if their peering partners require it. How long will it be until one or more of those local providers go out of business or decides to stop serving us due to lack of profits? Verizon has already proven this will happen by dropping a few hundred rural LTE customers who likely had no other options.
Repealing Net Neutrality will add just one more nail in the coffin in the death of rural Maine, just as it will many rural areas in the US. Thankfully, it looks like three of the four Maine representatives is onboard to support Net Neutrality (that third one is a squirrelly turd, so I don’t hold out much hope for him).
If you haven’t yet – please reach out to your Congress or Senate rep. It’s easy! Just got to https://www.battleforthenet.com/ and use their easy tool to contact them. Speak out on Twitter using the hashtag #NetNeutrality. Speak out on Facebook to your friends. Post your story on Reddit like I did. But most importantly – contact your government representative. They are the ones with the real power to make a difference in this battle.