Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Salon: The telecom slayers

Salon Magazine features a recap of the ragtag, ad hoc crew that banded together to defeat the major telecommunications carriers bent on turning the Internet into cable television. The war over net neutrality featured a bonfire of $100 million in public relations funds, YouTube videos, "astroturf" responses, and some of the biggest whoppers ever told.

The carriers appear intent on dismantling the principle of net neutrality, a fundamental method that describes how the Internet works today. In the current environment, network traffic -- whether a video from AT&T or a Flash animation from an 18 year-old college student -- is all treated with equal privilege. Under the new telecommunications law, carriers hoped to levy tarriffs on content providers like Google and Yahoo who they saw as vulnerable to the duopoly of cable and DSL that control access to residential Internet users.

The carriers, through their thought-leaders like Christopher Yoo, expressed a vision where the Internet effectively became something akin to cable television. Or, even better for them, pay-per-view (PPV) TV.

Unfortunately for the carriers -- and fortunately for consumers -- a grassroots campaign spearheaded by Save the Internet stopped the nine-figure PR campaign in its tracks. At least for the moment...

Salon: The telecom slayers and Doug's Net Neutrality Index.

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