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Monday, May 08, 2006

Save the Internet

So I'll leave my America bashing to a minimum, but lately this country never ceases to amaze me (and not in a good way).

So, seriously, there is legislation before Congress right now that would allow network owners to basically charge website owners for traffic. If you don't pay your fees your website may not even load in people's browsers.

So, say for instance you receive your internet through Comcast. You are trying to look up music on a certain website but that website has not payed these prices that have been requested. You may not even be able to load that site.

Want to donate to a charity online? What if that charity has not payed the price to the internet provider? You may not be able to even log on to this charity's site! Sounds like the payers may end up being the only players in certain circumstances.

Sign the petition:

Take action:

Learn more about how this affects you:

Here is a more thorough explanation from

Congress is pushing a law that would abandon the Internet's First Amendment -- a principle called Network Neutrality that prevents companies like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast from deciding which Web sites work best for you -- based on what site pays them the most. Your local library shouldn’t have to outbid Barnes & Noble for the right to have its Web site open quickly on your computer.

Net Neutrality allows everyone to compete on a level playing field and is the reason that the Internet is a force for economic innovation, civic participation and free speech. If the public doesn't speak up now, Congress will cave to a multi-million dollar lobbying campaign by telephone and cable companies that want to decide what you do, where you go, and what you watch online.

This isn’t just speculation -- we've already seen what happens elsewhere when the Internet's gatekeepers get too much control. Last year, Telus -- Canada's version of AT&T -- blocked their Internet customers from visiting a Web site sympathetic to workers with whom the company was having a labor dispute. And Madison River, a North Carolina ISP, blocked its customers from using any competing Internet phone service.

How would the gutting of Network Neutrality affect you?

  • Google users—Another search engine could pay dominant Internet providers like AT&T to guarantee the competing search engine opens faster than Google on your computer.
  • Innovators with the "next big idea"—Startups and entrepreneurs will be muscled out of the marketplace by big corporations that pay Internet providers for dominant placing on the Web. The little guy will be left in the "slow lane" with inferior Internet service, unable to compete.
  • Ipod listeners—A company like Comcast could slow access to iTunes, steering you to a higher-priced music service that it owned.
  • Political groups—Political organizing could be slowed by a handful of dominant Internet providers who ask advocacy groups to pay "protection money" for their websites and online features to work correctly.
  • Nonprofits—A charity's website could open at snail-speed, and online contributions could grind to a halt, if nonprofits can't pay dominant Internet providers for access to "the fast lane" of Internet service.
  • Online purchasers—Companies could pay Internet providers to guarantee their online sales process faster than competitors with lower prices—distorting your choice as a consumer.
  • Small businesses and tele-commuters—When Internet companies like AT&T favor their own services, you won't be able to choose more affordable providers for online video, teleconferencing, Internet phone calls, and software that connects your home computer to your office.
  • Parents and retirees—Your choices as a consumer could be controlled by your Internet provider, steering you to their preferred services for online banking, health care information, sending photos, planning vacations, etc.
  • Bloggers—Costs will skyrocket to post and share video and audio clips—silencing citizen journalists and putting more power in the hands of a few corporate-owned media outlets.

Blocking Innovation

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 -- an advocacy campaign opposing the company's pay-to-send e-mail scheme.

This is just the beginning. Cable and telco giants want to eliminate the Internet's open road in favor of a tollway that protects their status quo while stifling new ideas and innovation. If they get their way, they'll shut down the free flow of information and dictate how you use the Internet.


At 11:59 AM, Anonymous Tom L said...

Hello, I'm not sure where you live in NJ, I live in Red Bank. If you are interested in helping out the savetheinternet movement may I suggest that you make this more of a local issue?

In Red Bank Verizon wants to offer cable TV but they need our town's permission first. I am asking our town to make Verizon address the issue of Net Neutrality before we give them a cable TV franchise.

I urge you to find out if Verizon is looking to offer FiOS TV in your town or town’s near by. If they are then call you local government official and ask them to press Verizon on these issues.

You can see what I am doing by checking out my simple blog at:

Thanks -- Tom


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