Friday, May 26, 2006

Save the Net Before the Holidays

After all the urban myths about charges per email and such crap, something much worse is possible. I'll be contacting my elected folk -- repeatedly -- until the very real attempt by the largest broadband and phone companies to take our Net from us.

There are links below. The gist of it is that there are things we can and must do now to prevent:
  • Fast delivery of provider-selected sites.
  • Slow delivery or even blocking of those who don't pay the providers.
Picture doing a search or typing a URL and waiting like your were on a 24KBPS modem for your connection. Comcast, Verizon, AT&T and TimeWarner are fine with that and they want the legal right to control the pipes.
What's in it for them is charging a toll to any business or even non-profit site that wants prompt delivery. The technical term is overturning Net Neutrality. Those quasi-monopolies, really an oligopoly, want to take away your Internet and mine as we know it.

There's lots we have to do. Fortunately, it's all pretty simple. Click on the links here or the Save the Internet box to the left to read about the issues and solutions.

The greed monsters' view is a bummer. As the Save the Internet folk put it:
They want to tax content providers to guarantee speedy delivery of their data. They want to discriminate in favor of their own search engines, Internet phone services, and streaming video — while slowing down or blocking their competitors.

These companies have a new vision for the Internet. Instead of an even playing field, they want to reserve express lanes for their own content and services — or those from big corporations that can afford the steep tolls — and leave the rest of us on a winding dirt road.
In case you'd like some vetting, consider the view of Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the Web. Check is blog entry on the subject here.

He discusses the issue and concludes:
The Internet is increasingly becoming the dominant medium binding us. The neutral communications medium is essential to our society. It is the basis of a fair competitive market economy. It is the basis of democracy, by which a community should decide what to do. It is the basis of science, by which humankind should decide what is true.

Let us protect the neutrality of the net.

Likewise, on this May 2nd, the New York Times ran an editorial on the issue, which requires a $50 Times Select subscription to see. That's not exactly your scare monger, but it notes:
One of the Internet's great strengths is that a single blogger or a small political group can inexpensively create a Web page that is just as accessible to the world as Microsoft's home page. But this democratic Internet would be in danger if the companies that deliver Internet service changed the rules so that Web sites that pay them money would be easily accessible, while little-guy sites would be harder to access, and slower to navigate. Providers could also block access to sites they do not like.

That would be a financial windfall for Internet service providers, but a disaster for users, who could find their Web browsing influenced by whichever sites paid their service provider the most money.
The issue couldn't be clearer. The abusers of capitalism don't care about freedom, only cash and power. There are those in Congress who will help, but we need a groundswell asking for legislation protecting Net Neutrality.

You need to contact each of your U.S. Reps and Senators, at the very least. Talk it up. Blog it. Write letters to the editor.

Other key legislators -- with their contacts -- are here at DailyKos.

Do it. Do it before Memorial Day. Do it again after Memorial Day.

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