Thursday, February 23, 2006

Is Network Neutrality DOA?

Your tax dollars at work
NetFreedomNow is now gathering 100,000 signatures in a campaign to pressure Congress to save network neutrality.

This public push is especially urgent now. Sources inside the House of Representatives just revealed their intention to strike network neutrality from the latest draft of the Telecom Act.

According to the National Journal, the House Energy and Commerce Committee is likely to drop all references after lawmakers failed to reach consensus on the issue.

If the Journal report is correct, the DC bottleneck is the net result of the full-tilt lobbying by AT&T, Comcast, BellSouth and Verizon. These corporations have convinced enough pliant members of Congress to discard with neutrality safeguards altogether -- effectively ridding the Internet of the governing principles that until now fostered the free flow of ideas and innovation.

A Telecom Act without network neutrality would leave the future of the Internet to the whims of predatory telephone and cable companies. The stage is now set for these communications giants to play gatekeepers to all online content and services -- turning our net freedoms into their net revenues.

Not good.

To that end, The New York Times editorial board wrote on Sunday:
If access tiering takes hold, the Internet providers, rather than consumers, could become the driving force in how the Internet evolves. Those corporations’ profit-driven choices, rather than users’ choices, would determine which sites and methodologies succeed and fail. They also might be able to stifle promising innovations, like Internet telephony, that compete with their own business interests.
AT&T, Bell South, Comcast and Verizon make massive campaign contributions. They're used to getting their way in the halls of Congress. But it's time Americans who feel strongly about an open and free Internet told our elected representatives to reverse course.

Put enforceable network neutrality principles into our telecommunications laws and regulations by taking action now at:

Net neutrality is an issue where the public's interest cannot be out-flanked by massive telcos and their well-oiled politicians.

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