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Save The Internet

Save The Internet

As reported earlier, there’s a push underway to transform access to the Internet as we know it.  The nation’s largest telephone and cable companies, including Comcast, AT&T, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon are teaming up with Republican lawmakers such as Kay Bailey Hutchinson to roll-back, or eliminate entirely, the concept of Network Neutrality.

Network Neutrality, or Net Neutrality, is the foundational principle preserving a free and open Internet.  In short, it stands for a no-discrimination principle that prevents Internet providers from controlling content or access to content.  Without Net Neutrality, Internet providers could block, speed up or slow down Web content based on its source, ownership or destination. 

Those opposing Net Neutrality argue that corporations should, and do, have the power to tax content providers as a means of guaranteeing that their data receives preferential treatment.  They want providers to have the power to discriminate in favor of their own search engines, Internet phone and streaming video services, and to allow them the means, and legal protections, for slowing down or blocking entirely, services offered by their competitors.

In short, the assault on Net Neutrality is an all-out assault on consumers and an all out assault on free speech.  Contrary to the “sky is falling” proclamations of corporate interest groups, the consequences of eradicating Net Neutrality–limiting consumer choice, competition and restricting access–would stifle, not promote innovation.  Let me ask you this: do you like your cable service?  I ask  because without Net Neutrality the Internet will mirror cable TV as network owners decide which channels, content and applications are available to consumers and set differing prices and menus.

Thankfully the Federal Communications Commission finally appears willing to stand-up to this assault on speech and consumer choice.  Tomorrow the FCC will vote on a notice of proposed rulemaking that embraces Net Neutrality and would codify it, for the first time ever, in a series of rules that would enable enforcement and guarantee open access to the Internet.

But telecom does not give up that easily and they are lobbying hard against these efforts.  AT&T has asked its employees to contact Congress to put pressure on the FCC to not act and specifically instructing employees to hide their corporate affiliation when doing so.  We can fight back.  Free Press has coordinated a counter-effort and you can join.

Please consider doing your part to support consumer choice, free speech, and the democratic exchange of information.  The future of the Internet depends on it.

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photo courtesy of Lee Jordan via Flickr

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24 comments

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12:22PM PDT on Oct 24, 2009

We are paying for the internet, so why should it be controlled? There, of course, are some sites that should not be available. The internet is a great source of information for students and others. There are some e-books online, which definitely saves trees. If the internet access is limited, what does that do to our trying to save trees, etc? Think about it!!!!!!

6:23AM PDT on Oct 24, 2009

Shannon S ........"The fairness doctorine only applies to PUBLIC airways and basically states that if one point of view is given, the other side must be given as well. This would actually benefit those who hold views that fall outside the Dem or Rebub view.".........Sorry Shannon but I don't buy it. I'm one of those people that think outside the box. The "other" side is almost always dominated into channeled think. Liberal vs Conservative, Republican vs Democrat, Left vs Right......Both "sides" seek to get more exposure for what amounts to be propaganda. And Public airwaves? That equals a Public Domain. And it is a small more from there to declaring . the internet being "Public". Which would, be subject to "fairness". For the Public good of course.

9:35PM PDT on Oct 23, 2009

How much more power are we going to give the government?
They have way too much as it is. They don't need to control the internet.

1:51PM PDT on Oct 23, 2009

Just leave our internet alone we have the freedom of expression and that is the way it is and that is a fact.

10:19AM PDT on Oct 23, 2009

The fairness doctorine only applies to PUBLIC airways and basically states that if one point of view is given, the other side must be given as well. This would actually benefit those who hold views that fall outside the Dem or Rebub view. Regarless, cable is a paid service, just like sat radio, the fairness doctirne I dont believe applies to these avenues of media. I do agree with you however that we should all be concerned once the goverment gets involved with free speech. Public radio is free, however your stereo and antenee needed to access the airways is not, just like the technology to access the internet and how quickly you can is not. Here is a thought, let the goverment provide the hardware and technology you need to access those airways and the net and then see who is blocking what...you might be surprised at the culprits.

9:27AM PDT on Oct 23, 2009

You all are a bunch of hypocrits. Including the FCC. The FCC is trying to promote NET NEUTRALITY on one hand while they are trying to silence cable and satellite radio channels that don't agree with the "Progressive" point of view using the race card and hate laws as ammunition to get their agenda across. I do not listen to either the conservative or the liberal channels because listening to all the propaganda from both sides is a waste of my time, but the times that I went to the liberal and conservative channels to check them out (before I made the determination that they were all a waste of my time) I heard plenty of lies and hate from both sides. To go after one side because they disagree with your point of view violates the First Ammendment and congress must get this stopped or all future administrations can use this tool to sway voters to their side (whichever side that may be - liberal or conservative).

6:01AM PDT on Oct 23, 2009

This is pretty scary stuff. Since main stream media is pretty much compromised, the internet has become the source of real news. So, obviously I am for TRUE net neutrality

Problem 1: "Experience shows that the FCC is particularly vulnerable to regulatory capture and has a history of ignoring grassroots public opinion (see, e.g., media consolidation). That makes the agency a poor choice for restraining the likes of Comcast and AT&T.: Electronic Frontier Foundation

Problem 2: What if this morphs into something else? Say the RESPONSIBILITY to block certain content? For the "public good". I think that the wording probably reads: "reasonable network management" to block certain content? To prevent unsavory stuff like spam and child porno....... Then where are the lines drawn? Some would consider that opposition to government policies, or criticism of public policies to be unsavory.........These days, any time the Government gets involved in ANYTHING I get nervous. Especially since Government has been captured by special interests and lobbies. Tread carefully.

2:43AM PDT on Oct 23, 2009

The big corporatiosn already OWN the newpapers and television! No way should they get control of the internet too! Then we would NEVER know what's going on. One big reason they want control is because they're afraid of the openness of the internet and bloggers who expose them! Kay Bailey Hutchison is already owned by the Big Oil and the HMO industries and we see daily how the Republicans are the (lying) party of the rich only! How ANYBODUY can believe ANYTHING they say is beyond me!

8:27PM PDT on Oct 22, 2009

Today as I sat in a doctor's waiting room I was forced to watch Fox "News" and, lo and behold, they had a segment in which it was reported with outrage that Obama was attempting to do away with Net Neutrality, when in fact the exact opposite is true. How they get to call themselves news is beyond me, when they knowingly and purposely lie to their viewers on a regular basis. It is organizations such as theirs that make the free flow of information on the Internet so vital, and it is big corporations like the one behind Fox News that want to restrict our access, spoon feed us what they want us to know, and find a way to put even more dollars in their pockets by taking something away from the average American. Enough!!!

7:32PM PDT on Oct 22, 2009

The Net is the last major form of communication that is not controlled by the corporate agenda. We must protect it at all costs. Here is an example. I used to watch Democracy Now, a great in depth news program, on Cable tv. Then some right wing company took over the stattion that carried it and immediately dropped it. Now the only place I can see and hear it is on the Net.

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