There were nearly 1.2 million submissions to the FCC regarding net neutrality including NEOCH. We felt it was important to comment on this issue on behalf of homeless people in Cleveland. The proposed rules would create a fast lane for the Internet in which cable companies could charge certain web content providers more money to access these fast lanes. The NEOCH website provides content including videos and access to our Street Card information card (being the most popular). Most of our clients are accessing the internet with outdated equipment in computer labs and libraries. We believe that our agency would be harmed because we could not afford to put our content on the fast lane, and our clients would be harmed because critical information would be delivered to them in the slower lanes.
Nearly every job application, housing application and health care access is increasingly being done through electronic means. The last time the housing choice voucher program was opened it was done by web only applications and only for one week. Access to legislators, bureaucrats and government is largely done by e-mail or by submitting information through a public website. Unemployment compensation and the food stamp program are almost exclusively done online. The life of a homeless person and their ability to find stability involves sending and receiving information electronically in an open and in the fastest means possible.
NEOCH also is a partner in the HousingCleveland.org website which features 32,000 apartments including pictures, maps and extensive details on each building. We would not be able to pay for faster access to our constituents looking for housing through this website. The 150,000 unique users per year would face a slower and more frustrating experience when searching for housing.
NEOCH is concerned that...Internet Service Providers would be able to charge content providers extra for preferential treatment and faster access. Nonprofits simply cannot compete with for-profit websites if paid priority is implemented.
We believe that the Internet should be treated as a public utility that provides essential services in our community. Because of the access to medical care, housing and income is largely done by accessing the Internet, any regulation of the Internet must foremost be in the public interest.
This is a summary of the comments that we submitted on behalf of homeless people in Cleveland, Ohio. Gino Scarselli, our interim executive director, put a great deal of work in putting together our comments. We hope that the Commissioners will keep the Internet open to charitable organizations and religious groups in practice. We will continue to track this issue. For a complete look at our submission click on the link below
Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.