The FCC's vote to end net neutrality is good for some—and by some, we mean huge corporations like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast that already have a monopoly on providing internet service to the majority of Americans. It's shitty for everybody else. These companies will now, in theory, have greater power to slow down and speed up your access to certain parts of the internet depending on how it impacts their bottom line. But some states are hoping to circumvent the federal government's decision to end net neutrality, including New Mexico. State Sen. Howie Morales, D-Silver City, plans to introduce legislation in January that would establish "net neutrality for all of New Mexico." We spoke to him about what he's planning and why it's important.
What are you proposing?
We want to have New Mexico take control of its direction [with regards to net neutrality]. So we've taken a similar approach that's been done in Washington state and basically just not allowing [the restriction of lawful internet content]. We believe we have the capacity in New Mexico to create our own system, and with that being said, I think that's where attorneys general across the country are banding together and are saying the same thing: That we feel that this is what's going to be best for the people we represent; in this case, New Mexico.
Who in New Mexico is most affected by the repeal of net neutrality?
You're gonna have your elderly, students—let's be candid, you have your educational community that has for years been underpaid, that have relied on the ability to utilize [internet] resources. These are people affected the most because they so heavily depend on a free internet for their success. We've talked many times in an economic development aspect how we're lacking in our state, and we're setting ourselves further back at the hands of the overreaching FCC decision, and it's gonna impact New Mexico for years to come.
What will you do if the feds try to stop state net neutrality regulations?
We don't have a choice; we have to stand up and challenge this. The threats that are going to be placed out there on the feds' side is using taxpayer dollars we all pay as ransom to go along with their decision. That's not the purpose of the dollars we pay in taxes. The purpose is to provide services to people across the country. So I take exception to the threat saying dollars will be withheld. Those dollars don't belong to the feds, those dollars are generated by taxpayers across the state.