Friday, April 28, 2006

It's an election year... and the entire U.S. wants net neutrality*

BellWest Network Neutrality
Click the picture for a cool video explaining net neutrality

Hmmm... two thousand four... plus two... carry the one.... yes, by golly, it is an election year. Perhaps these GOP jackasses (c'mon, you know I love you) can get off the telcos' dole for a day and side with the rest of entire U.S. population:

With midterm elections looming, GOP leaders will come under increasing pressure to make a choice. Will they continue to back their few phone and cable industry supporters and keep the open Internet safeguards off the table? Or will they recognize that a genuine digital-age protest movement is emerging that could further harm their party's chances in November? The next few weeks will reveal whether the "smart mobs" can win over a tiny handful of communications monopolists.

Here's another great snippet. TechSearch asks the question, "Is AT&T $1 Million Contribution An Illegal Payoff?" I've heard of shady-sounding deals before, but this may be #2 after only Mollohan:

AT&T certainly knows how to spend its money wisely. It's donated $1 million to fund the pet project of a Congressman who has vowed to back a law letting AT&T and other telcos hijack the Internet. Is the contribution an illegal payoff?

The Chicago Sun Times reports that AT&T has donated $1 million to a community center founded by Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.). Rush is a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, which is writing telecom law that would give AT&T everything telcos want, from killing net neutrality, to letting telcos establish municipal video franchises without government oversight.

Gosh, that smells funny.

Ever wonder why the telcos spend so much on lobbyists rather than, oh I don't know, value-creating new applications like Skype and Vonage? For the love of...

And don't think for a second that killing net neutrality isn't a huge issue. It has already happened in Canada and the results weren't pretty:

In July 2005, Canada’s second largest telephone company, Telus, blocked their customers from visiting a website sympathetic to the Telecommunications Workers Union as management was in the midst of a contentious labor dispute.

Without network neutrality, the network owners like Verizon and Comcast will have a powerful incentive to manipulate the network to enhance their own search engines, video streaming archives, online shopping portals, blogging engines, and voice-over-Internet services. To get the same quality of service, a company like Google, Yahoo, Vonage or Amazon will be forced to pay a premimum. The barriers to entry for the next generation of Internet innovators will rise. Those who refuse or cannot afford to pay will be left in the slow lane.

So what we have here is the entire left and right sides of the blogosphere teaming up against one foe: telco management and their lobbyists.

Go to Save the Internet now. And get involved.

Or, you can ignore the situation, and leave the future of the Internet in the hands of the two remaining telephone companies, a couple of cable operators, and their lobbyists. And what could possibly go wrong with that?

* The entire U.S., except for the telcos' management and lobbyists

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