09 July 2007

[net_life] It's Time to Save Net Neutrality-Again

862. I know. You'd of thought they'd paid attention the first time. But when it comes to money, honey, the big guys never have enough. They want more.

Net Neutrality means that one group of companies or individuals can't discriminate on the basis of content. It means that if there's something out there that I want to see on the net, I can go see it-and nobody can tell me no. It means I can attempt to build a business on the net.

The loss of Net Neutrality means that big players will eventually craft a two-(or more)tiered Internet–one for the content and users they like and who can afford it, and the rest for everyone else. No matter who you are or what you believe, I can't believe that you'd be down with someone else deciding what quality of service you have and making the decent stuff cost more–broadband isn't all that cheap and besides, if you're an American, your taxes planted the seed that created this big beautiful network of tubes. You at least deserve to use it without having someone tap you on the shoulder and ask for more money please.

The comment period to the FCC ends on 16 June–in five days. Go, right now, to this page as SaveTheInternet.com and tell your story. Mine's here. We must stand up and do what we can.

If you think it's all scare stories, take a look (cribbed directly from SaveTheInternet.com) at what telecoms have already done. Increase it. You like reading this, this, or even this (couldn't imagine why)? Do something now, speak the hell up, or this is your future:

Such corporate control of the Web would reduce your choices and stifle the spread of innovative and independent ideas that we've come to expect online. It would throw the digital revolution into reverse. Internet gatekeepers are already discriminating against Web sites and services they don't like:

  • In 2004, North Carolina ISP Madison River blocked their DSL customers from using any rival Web-based phone service.
  • In 2005, Canada's telephone giant Telus blocked customers from visiting a Web site sympathetic to the Telecommunications Workers Union during a contentious labor dispute.
  • Shaw, a major Canadian cable, internet, and telephone service company, intentionally downgrades the "quality and reliability" of competing Internet-phone services that their customers might choose -- driving customers to their own phone services not through better services, but by rigging the marketplace.
  • In April, Time Warner's AOL blocked all emails that mentioned www.dearaol.com -- an advocacy campaign opposing the company's pay-to-send e-mail scheme.
Now, go do the right thing. We haven't yet got 500 testimonies from Oregon; I should think the Silicon Forest can do better than that.

Now, for your matinee feature–brought to you by Net Neutrality.

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