Pelaez Asks City Council To Consider Net Neutrality Ordinance

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Councilman Manny Peláez (D8) gives his opinion on the Tobacco 21 proposal at B Session.

Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report

Councilman Manny Pelaez (D8) filed a council consideration request asking City Council to examine the City’s development regulations and their impact on development on Aug. 14.

City leaders are getting serious about protecting the open internet.

Weeks after Mayor Ron Nirenberg signed a national pledge to honor net neutrality principles, Councilman Manny Pelaez (D8) filed a council consideration request Tuesday for the San Antonio City Council to consider putting teeth behind the measure with a formal citywide policy.

“Cities have come to rely on an open internet in order to thrive,” Pelaez said. “That includes being able to hunt for jobs, look for housing, and access resources that improve health care and education options."

Mayors Bill de Blasio of New York, Steve Adler of Austin, and Ted Wheeler of Portland, Oregon, announced at a South by Southwest event last month that the mayors of 12 U.S. cities, including Nirenberg, have signed the Cities Open Internet Pledge. That number has since grown to 23 cities.

Net neutrality, or the open internet, is the idea that internet service providers (ISPs) should not block, throttle, or prioritize certain internet content. Because many ISPs are owned by larger communications conglomerates that also create content, there is fear that companies will favor content created by those within its umbrella and restrict access to competitors’ content. The FCC adopted open internet rules in February 2015 and repealed them in December 2017.

Pelaez requested last month to bring the item "at the earliest possible date" before the council's Governance Committee, which proposes, reviews, and refers new policy initiatives to staff or other council committees for action.

Erin Nichols, a spokeswoman for Pelaez, said the councilman intends for staff to draft an ordinance based on the net neutrality principles in the pledge.

The pledge calls on cities to support the maintenance of an open internet by doing business with ISPs – such as Spectrum, AT&T, Grande, and Google Fiber locally – that honor net neutrality practices.

It also contains five other imperatives for cities committing to open-internet practices, including to ensure an open-internet connection in any free public Wi-Fi or municipally provided internet, require notice of anti-net neutrality practices and levy penalties against providers that engage in them, and monitor ISPs so that consumers know which companies are violating open-internet principles.

Pelaez, who chairs the council’s new Innovation and Technology Committee, said high-speed and open access to the internet is a public necessity.

"In the absence of net neutrality, ISPs are able to create tiered services that will make it increasingly difficult for those who cannot afford or lack access to the internet, further increasing the digital divide in our city," he said.

Cities such as San Antonio — with its concentrated pockets of broadband infrastructure — have disparate levels of internet access and knowledge among its residents that many refer to as a digital divide.

Pelaez said formalizing Nirenberg's pledge as a city ordinance is the next step to protecting an open internet locally.

4 thoughts on “Pelaez Asks City Council To Consider Net Neutrality Ordinance

  1. Another knee-jerk response by an thoughtless city leader. I have not experienced any degradation in service.

    Give the mayor and council members a Progressive issue and they’re on it like ducks on june bugs.

  2. I’ve learned that those who spout the term “Net Neutrality” have not read the FCC’s statement on “Restoring Internet Freedom” but rather have read only the nonsense published by the mainstream media.

    The LAST thing anybody should want – especially businesses – is for ISPs to treat all customers equally. There’s a reason why those who need high speed connections – whether to conduct stock trades, process credit card transactions, etc – will pay more for faster internet.

    Heck, my ISP just DOUBLED my basic internet to 200MBS at NO EXTRA CHARGE to me.

    Remember: When the FCC in December reversed Obama’s Net Neutrality, every Democrat / Leftist / Statist / Journalist proclaimed the “Death of the Internet.” Well, five months later I’m enjoying twice as fast internet for no extra charge – and I have yet to hear ANYBODY on the Left mention that maybe they were wrong in their assertions.

  3. “In the absence of net neutrality, ISPs are able to create tiered services that will make it increasingly difficult for those who cannot afford or lack access to the internet”……WRONG!

    The lack of “tiered services” means a lack of options. Why should someone who only uses email for occasional e-mails and reading the news or other services requiring minimal bandwidth be required to pay for a “super fast” internet connection. Using that logic, should there be a “Power Grid Neutrality” rule for CPS where every residence is connected to industrial grade 440 volt, 200+ amp service? Likewise, how about requiring SAWS to connect all customers with 4 inch water mains, after all, everyone needs the same “access” to water. Restricting options only makes the overall cost increase for all customers, large and small.

    Perhaps we should come to understand that the reason Spectrum, AT&T, Google Fiber, et al like “net neutrality” is they can blame it when their customers complain that they have to pay the only one-size-fits-all price for their internet service. It certainly makes their sales job much easier.

  4. Don’t be fooled by the talk about how I’m here to help you from these city leaders.
    Net Neutrality in a nutshell means, government wants to control the internet, hence, control the content!
    All in the name of fairness,! But in the end, they have the control, just like they want it!

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