Saturday, July 01, 2006

Stand with John Kerry on Net Neutrality

As a strong GOP backer who raised funds, wrote op-eds and appeared on talk radio in support of George W. Bush in 2004, I stand with John Kerry on the issue of net neutrality:

On Wednesday in the Senate Commerce Committee I warned that those of us who believe in net neutrality will block legislation that doesn’t get the job done.

It looks like that’s the fight we’re going to have.

The Commerce Committee voted on net neutrality and it failed on an 11-11 tie. This vote was a gift to cable and telephone companies, and a slap in the face of every Internet user and consumer.

It will not stand.

If you've never made a call to your Senator before, this is your day. If you've never emailed him or her, the time is now. Muster the energy and do it.

The future of the incredible value-creation machine we know as the Internet is at stake. Put simply, the carriers wish to pick and choose the winners and losers among content providers: they, not you, will decide the next Google. They, not you, will decide which telephony service, which file-sharing software, which instant-messenger you will use.

How do we know this? Because the carriers have repeatedly told us of their intentions:

...William L. Smith, chief technology officer for Atlanta-based BellSouth Corp., told reporters and analysts that an Internet service provider such as his firm should be able, for example, to charge Yahoo Inc. for the opportunity to have its search site load faster than that of Google Inc.

Or, Smith said, his company should be allowed to charge a rival voice-over-Internet firm so that its service can operate with the same quality as BellSouth's offering...

I can find no simpler way to put it: the carriers seek to turn the Internet into cable television. In doing so, they put America's technological leadership position at risk, they endanger the immense and fragile Internet ecosphere, and -- by extension -- they threaten the Internet itself.

Take action today. And tomorrow. And the next day... until the Senate gets the message -- loud and clear -- over the ringing of the lobbyists' cash registers.

Related: John Kerry on the Factor

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