Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Save internet neutrality

This is the biggest issue of the week, perhaps of the century and it concerns absolutely everybody who uses the internets. The internet is the only true democracy on the planet. For all these years, anyone with an good idea, the ambition and the tech knowledge could become a cyberspace success. The internet is a worldwide town meeting hall, an international marketplace and a planetary storehouse of knowledge and information. Our Congress and the major access providers want to end all that. The House Commerce Committee is scheduled to vote tomorrow on a measure that would hand control of your access over to AT&T, Verizon and Comcast.

What this means is that your access would be limited to only those sites willing and able to pay the price to the providers. How this could very well play out in practical terms is downright frightening. Your favorite search engine could either be slowed down to an unuseable crawl or blocked altogether. Major corporate websites would be the only ones accessible at the current speed. The pay for purchase features on small websites could be slowed in order to steer you to higher priced vendors that could afford high speed loading. Vendors such as iTunes could download a snail's pace while higher priced more expensive corporate vendors would load at the current speeds. Activist websites could be disabled. Disfavored charities and non-profit groups could be destroyed by slow loading donation pages. The possibilities are endless and the bottom line is that internet users would not only lose their free choice of content but would also pay the increased costs for the fees the companies pay to the providers.

Both Democrats and Republicans are supporting this move. The time to act is now. Watch this short video. Sign the petition and contact your Congressmen immediately and tell them to keep the choice of internet content in hands of the people, not under the control of corporate interests. If we don't stop them, the corporations say that they will create premium lanes on the Internet for higher fees, and give preferential access to their own services and those who can afford extra charges. The rest of us will be left to use an inferior version of the Internet.

This issue is so vital and time is so short I'm crossposting to all my blogs and asking everyone to please spread the word.

[hat tip FireDogLake]
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Blogger His Honor the Mayor said...

I'm familiar with this bill. This bill and another similar one at the Michigan legislature caught the attention of many in local governments, like mine. In addition to the problems you mentioned, this bill will also restrict city governments from establishing public high-speed internet services when private companies are unwilling to do so. As a member of the Davison, Michigan City Council, I helped pass a resolution opposing the similar state bill and sent it to our reps in Lansing.

For more of the possible negative effects of this bill on cities, check out this notice, from the Illinois Municipal League.

9:13:00 PM  
Blogger His Honor the Mayor said...

Oops, the link doesn't work anymore. The site was there a couple days ago!

9:18:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

You see, it's happening already. How do you know whether it's been taken down or blocked?

I figured you would be on top of this one yerhonor so forgive the mass mailing. I just decided to give this one 20 minutes tonight contact everyone in my address book. I've been hearing about it for a while too but this was the first I heard about an actual vote out of committee.

9:30:00 PM  

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