Congressman Vern Buchanan:
You have spent much of your career fighting for issues that are important to the Manatee and Sarasota area, which is why I am surprised to see your stance on repealing net neutrality.
For those who don’t know, net neutrality is the concept that consumers and businesses should be able to reach the online applications and services of their choosing without interference from their broadband provider.
Here are some issues that we could face if net neutrality is repealed on Thursday:
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Creating a tiered cost to access the web: Internet providers could essentially charge different prices to access different portions of the internet.
Do you love Netflix? Upgrade charge.
Facebook? Additional cost.
Like shopping on Amazon? Get ready to pay more before you start adding to your cart.
Limiting free speech: The great thing about the internet is that it is one of the few places remaining where we can truly express ourselves.
Ending net neutrality means those companies with the biggest bank accounts have a stranglehold on the conversation.
At Revcontent and other major technology companies, we strive to provide platforms that encourage an open exchange of ideas and opinions.
By removing net neutrality, you are essentially saying that some voices are more important than others.
Ending the open web: The Manatee-Sarasota community is becoming a hotbed for tech companies and startups, like my employer Revcontent.
Many of the companies that call this area home depend on an open web to grow business and continue to employ thousands of residents who work here, many of which are from the younger generation that we are fighting to keep in the area.
So, I ask you this, Mr. Buchanan: Will you support this cause that means so much to our residents and the businesses that call this area home?
If not, how will you explain your decision to the tech companies we are trying to attract to the area? What will you say to residents who face increased internet costs? What will you say to our young people entering the workforce who are looking forward to launching their careers at one of our local companies who depend on an open web?
Please consider voting against a repeal of net neutrality on Thursday.
It is really important to us.
Chris Maynard is the chief product officer at Revcontent, a content recommendation network based in Sarasota.