speak up for Net Neutrality

5 03 2008

I don’t know if you’ve heard much about the fight for Net Neutrality, but it’s an issue that’s going before Congress, and it may affect the Internet in a big way if the vote goes against it.  If you aren’t familiar with it, here’s an excerpt about it from Save The Internet:

Network Neutrality — or “Net Neutrality” for short — is the guiding principle that preserves the free and open Internet.

Put simply, Net Neutrality means no discrimination. Net Neutrality prevents Internet providers from speeding up or slowing down Web content based on its source, ownership or destination. …

Who wants to get rid of Net Neutrality?

The nation’s largest telephone and cable companies — including AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and Time Warner — want to be Internet gatekeepers, deciding which Web sites go fast or slow and which won’t load at all.

They want to tax content providers to guarantee speedy delivery of their data. They want to discriminate in favor of their own search engines, Internet phone services, and streaming video — while slowing down or blocking their competitors.

These companies have a new vision for the Internet. Instead of an even playing field, they want to reserve express lanes for their own content and services — or those from big corporations that can afford the steep tolls — and leave the rest of us on a winding dirt road.

The big phone and cable companies are spending hundreds of millions of dollars lobbying Congress and the Federal Communications Commission to gut Net Neutrality, putting the future of the Internet at risk.

Follow this link to learn more about it and to sign a petition that goes to our Congressmen.  It’s a serious issue in terms of our freedom and the use of the Internet as we know it now, and it’s being attacked largely below the radar.  So please sign the petition and tell your state representatives, and tell your friends about it.

Those companies are fighting against Net Neutrality.  There was a meeting of the FCC last week in Boston to discuss this issue about Comcast, and Comcast actually hired people off the street to keep the public out of the meeting.  So the people who wanted in to make their voice heard were kept out by hired people (some of whom slept during the meeting).  This is not some crazy conspiracy theory — Comcast got caught and has actually admitted to it.  You can read about that here (and some of the previous posts there also discuss this situation).  We need to make our voice heard, or the Internet will be run by the large companies that have the most money, and they will regulate what content gets priority.

Please consider signing the petition and e-mailing or calling your representatives to let them know about this.  The large corporations aren’t going to present a balanced picture of the situation, and unfortunately some senators will vote based on the money or the lobbyist groups and/or their own ignorance.  So we need to speak up before we lose more of our freedoms.




One response

28 03 2008

The lobbying against net neutrality was in full force last year, with Verizon Communications spending $13.8 million, AT&T spending $17.1 million, and Comcast spending $8.9 million. The groups that lobby for net neutrality (and our freedoms and rights online) don’t have that kind of budget. So it’s important that we spread the word and do what we can to protect our freedoms.

I suspect many of our Congressmen don’t understand what’s at stake here, and I’m sure the big corporations paint a picture that shows why the Internet needs to be regulated (by them, naturally). But it’s all about the money. Those networking companies want other groups and companies to pay more money so they can have faster bandwidth and more priority. The filter-down effect is that Internet traffic is driven more by who spends the most money rather than by what is most popular.

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