I snuck in under the deadline. I finally found the time tonight to write and submit my comment to the FCC on net neutrality. While there are so, so many reasons why net neutrality is needed, and should be maintained, I didn't feel that I had a compelling enough reason to submit a comment...but then I stopped thinking so hard.
I realized that some of my real work, my day and night job, would be impacted greatly. So that is what I wrote about. I hadn't heard anyone mention the topic of telemedicine and remote healthcare in the context of net neutrality, but I don't claim that it hasn't been discussed, just that I hadn't heard it. So, my letter is below.
In brief, I am writing to express my support for preserving net neutrality.
Telemedicine and smart and connected health systems are areas of current research that have huge future benefit for all people. Most research in these areas today is based on a model that all people have equal and fair access to the internet. The elimination of net neutrality could have a large, negative impact on this field because there will be looming questions about whether an internet-based personalized health network would be cost-effective or even usable.
A couple of examples:
-Without net neutrality, could a physician reliably operate on a patient remotely via a haptic robotic arm? Would the patient be required to pay more to get a fast lane for his/her operation? Without net neutrality, the entire field of remote telemedicine could disappear.
-Without net neutrality, the next generation of personalized health care and well-being technology will be disrupted. Ongoing research into new devices that monitor people's health in their home will be stalled without reliable internet access. The research required to develop this technology requires unfettered internet access. Without net neutrality, this research will also be more costly to undertake.
-Without net neutrality, new health technologies that are being developed and moving toward the market will be more expensive at best, and never come to fruition at worst. There will be little support for new technology and healthcare solutions that rely on an internet that will have access controlled by a small number of players, as this creates a huge unknown for the technology. Net neutrality is essential for these to have the major impact in healthcare and well being that will improve the quality of life for all people and reduce costs.
In summary, removing net neutrality would benefit a few select companies at the expense of almost everyone else. The benefits of maintaining net neutrality, for telemedicine and remote healthcare alone will be enormous. These benefits would come from the growth in jobs and opportunities in these fields, and in the improved quality of life for US citizens.
I urge you to support and maintain net neutrality. Thank you for your time.