To the editor:

When it comes to technology policy, our representatives in Albany and Washington should stay focused on increasing access to broadband and not legislating new ways to sue digital platforms.

Hudson Valley leaders, including Sen. Schumer and Reps. Delgado and Maloney, have rightly championed expanded access to broadband and closing the digital divide. At the same time, misguided bills aimed at radically overhauling antitrust law to take aim at the digital economy have been moving through Congress and the state legislature.

One of the key lessons of the pandemic is that access to reliable internet connectivity and affordable digital tools is as critical to our daily lives as running water or electricity. In fact, more than 70% of small businesses throughout New York state report increasing their use of online solutions and strategies to adapt during the pandemic. Internet-enabled platforms were not only a lifeline for small businesses, they enabled remote work, access to education, and telehealth services during a public health crisis. But if lawmakers continue to advance legislation to create massive new liabilities for America’s leading innovators, the full digital ecosystem will suffer.

As a new analysis from the Data Catalyst Institute finds, “’populist antitrust’ will hamstring [small business] recovery from the pandemic.” In an increasingly digital world, it is important for policymakers to examine existing regulatory structures and ensure fair competition, but not to the detriment of local businesses and our leadership in technology.

Tom Stebbins

Albany

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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