Competition key to getting fastest Internet

I am writing in response to a letter to the editor published on Sept. 14 entitled “Net neutrality not comparable to picnic.” In the letter, Derek Meyers rejects competition between service providers on the basis of several hypothetical scenarios that would threaten our right to free speech.

Instead of focusing on what may happen, we need to take into account the reality of our situation. Of the 113 million Internet connections reported by the FCC in their newest report, only 76 percent of these connections meet the FCC’s definition of broadband Internet.

In fact, the United States is dragging behind the rest of world when it comes to broadband access. According to Ookla’s Net Index, a website that compiles test results for upload and download speeds around the globe, the United States ranks 24th in average download speed at 10.50 Mbps and 29th in upload speed at 2.29 Mbps. The gap between the United States and the world leader, South Korea, is staggering. On average, South Korea has a download and upload speed of 34.12 Mbps and 20.02 Mbps respectively.

By encouraging competition between Internet service providers, we are guaranteeing ourselves a faster and cheaper product. Competition does not mean forsaking our right to free speech. When allowed to compete, Internet service providers will be forced to do whatever is necessary to please their customers. The heated nature of the net neutrality debate suggests that this could mean allowing customers to “send and receive all lawful content,” as is outlined by the Google-Verizon proposal.

Now is the time to ensure that the United States does not fall further behind the European and Asian leaders in broadband Internet access. Why should we sacrifice the benefits of competition in order to protect a freedom that is only hypothethically at risk?

Kelsey Pigg,

junior in LAS