Thursday, May 18

Net Neutrality

Do you ever feel like you just Didn't Get The Memo?

That's what happened today when I spotted an email from MoveOn, encouraging me to sign their petition on Internet freedom. Huh? I thought the Internet was already free (to a good home). Well, okay .. free if you have an account with an ISP and can afford a computer, or live within moseying distance of someone who does (or even a public liberry).

Anyhoo, MoveOn pointed me to a video of Moby; an audio clip of Moby; an Air America interview with Moby; a CNN highlight of Moby; and an Associated Press story on Moby. Supposedly the Gun Owners of America (who?), some Hollywood musicians (REM, Moby, others), and a Stack of Librarians are all in agreement about this legislation.

I haven't given much thought to Net Neutrality, although it's stirring considerable attention (see Hardware firms oppose Net neutrality laws for one side to the story). Then again, after hearing some of the sleazy things BellSouth was trying to do, followed by last week's bombshell about AT&T and Verizon turning over our phone records to the NSA, and now they and Comcast and Time Warner are all trying to get this "internet gatekeeper" legislation passed. Hmm .. if they're for it, I should probably be against it, right?

I'm not so sure there's something broken, and that new laws are needed. Maybe I oughta Read Up Some More about this? The opposing sides appear to be lining up behind and Save the Hmm .. time to install an Internet Terminal in The Latrine(tm).


Tom said...

Don't worry Gene, more legislation might not be the only answer. I am encouraging people to bring up the issue of Net Neutrality when Verizon or AT&T come to your town to offer cable tv over their new fiber networks.

This way market forces can influance the future of the internet as a level playing field.

I'm doing this in my small New Jersey town and you can read about it on my simple blog at:

Thanks -- Tom

Anonymous said...


Hi - this is Adam Green with MoveOn.

The Coalition agrees with you -- the Internet is great. What makes it great is Net Neutrality -- the First Amendment of the Internet. It's what ensures that the smallest blog will open just as properly as a big corporate webstie on your computer -- companies like AT&T are not allowed to discriminate, or decide that a video on Microsoft's website will run faster than an independent video on yours. AT&T wants to be able to decid whose site works properly based on who pays them more -- which would end the Internet as we know it.

Net neutrality has been the law of the land since the Internet was created, until 9 months ago when companies like Verizon and AT&T got the FCC to abolish it. That ruling goes into effect in 3 months. So all Net Neutrality advocates want to do is keep the rules the same -- with these big telecom companies (that formed the front-group "coalition" Hands Off The Internet) playing by the same basic non-discriminatory rules they've always had to play by.


How Net Neutrality affects regular people – from website

“Keeping a Democratic Web,” New York Times editorial, May 2, 2006

“Net Losses,” New Yorker, March 20, 2006

“Why You Should Care About Net Neutrality,” Slate – Free Market Professor Tim Wu Guest Column, May 1, 2006