US Representative Rick Larsen, who represents northwest Washington State, Friday signed the anti-net neutrality letter shopped around by the telcos and cable cos. The letter was shopped around to Democratic reps in the hopes of scaring off FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. In the letter, the signers recite a litany of telco lies and misrepresentations. For example, they attribute the growth of the Internet on ‘regulatory restraint,’ an allusion to the polices of Michael Powell, Reed Hundt and Kevin Martin. But those policies slowed and eventually destroyed the growth of the Internet, so that now the US has one of the lowest Internet use rates of any developed country. And the quality of our service is just about the worst in the developed world (slowest, most expensive) , again, thanks to regulatory restraint.
A least one signer has already made signs of his intent to possibly repudiate his signature on the letter. I guess in this age of the Internet, he had received assurances the telcos would block any comments about his signature. They can do that, right? Not yet, Rep. Jared Polis, sorry. But we know where you want go, now.
It’s a surprise Larsen would sell out to the telco/cableco sock puppets. His district used to have dozens of independent ISPs. Now, there are nearly none, and the nascent high-tech industry that was developing in this beautiful area of Washington State is gone. Larsen’s district suffers from lack of high-speed Internet service; I know because I’ve met with the leaders in the area. Lack of quality Internet has hampered job creation and made it impossible to create or relocate the kind of jobs that would permit young people to remain in the area. And the few success stories (Bellingham’s fiber to the industrial park project, San Juan County’s decision to build it themselves) are public efforts to get around the tail-dragging, dishonest, manipulative telcos. Thanks Rick Larsen, you outed yourself as a telco sock puppet.