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Campbell: Louisiana should protect Internet access

Foster Campbell

Louisiana should join other states and cities supporting access to the Internet without censorship or manipulation by telecommunications companies, Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell said.

“We pay these companies to deliver the Internet to our homes and offices,” Campbell said. “That should not give them the right to control what we read or view, how we shop or how we otherwise use the Internet.”

Campbell will ask the Louisiana Public Service Commission next week to support “Net Neutrality” and express that opinion to the Federal Communications Commission, which last month voted 3-2 to repeal the 2015 FCC order establishing Net Neutrality.

He also wants LPSC staff to research how the Commission can ensure that Louisiana consumers enjoy the freedom to use the Internet if the FCC refuses to restore Net Neutrality.

“If we cannot persuade the FCC to reverse its decision, we need some cards we can play,” Campbell said.

The FCC’s 2015 Net Neutrality order prohibited Internet service providers from blocking lawful content, applications or services. It banned providers from “throttling” consumers by slowing down specific applications or services.

The 2015 order also prohibited “fast lanes” on the Internet that are created when providers accept payment by content generators for special treatment.

“Without Net Neutrality, customers could face price increases to use certain sites,” Campbell said. “If Netflix has to pay for a fast lane, they will pass that cost on to their customers.”

Campbell said Internet access is critically important to millions of Louisiana consumers, business owners and others.

“These users need to know that their access is not compromised by hidden payments, corporate or political agendas, or other unknown motivations.”

The Louisiana PSC January meeting is Wednesday, January 31, at Baton Rouge.