Friday, June 09, 2006

House Hoses the Net

Wait. A better head is really U.S. House Whores the Net.

On an almost straight party vote, House Republicans tried to permanently screw your Internet access yesterday. By an overwhelming 321 to 101, they passed an act giving cable companies the right to slow down or block your access to sites that don't pay them for suddenly premium throughput.

They also rejected Massachusetts Rep. Ed Markey's Net-neutrality protection amendment by 269 to 152. That would have required cable firms, phone companies or others who sell bandwidth to offer "nondiscriminatory" Net access.

If this God awful disgrace repeats in the U.S. Senate, the Net as you know it today is gone. The Verizons and Comcasts will determine within their own monopolistic circles what their customer get and at what speed. The restrictions are off the providers and on content and customer. Nice going, Republican Reps!

Sticking it to us millions of Americans, the House conservatives seem much more interested in future corporate support than public well-being or in freedom of access to information. As Markey told the Washington Post, "The telephone companies have made clear that they can create a fast lane that will require extra payments and a slow lane for everyone else who can't afford it. That is a fundamental change in the history of the Internet, and it will adversely affect millions of Internet users across our country."

Even for the Bush administration, this is too sleazy to believe.

Away from the White House, on the white-hat side, Save the Internet holds out hope that the Senate shows some guts and morality. Free Press co-founder Robert W. McChesney's statement includes:
The Senate cannot ignore the massive right-left coalition of Americans that have unified behind Net Neutrality: over 750,000 individuals, nearly every consumer group, the Internet’s founders, and a rapidly growing coalition of nearly every industry that relies on the Internet...

The House vote is a pyrrhic victory for the telecom lobby. Momentum to defend Net Neutrality will only grow as Americans realize that the threat to internet freedom is real. Senators can expect to hear their constituents loud and clear on their responsibility to protect Net Neutrality and we will be watching closely to make sure they listen.
So, this is precisely the time. Click on the Save the Internet button in the left column for details on what you can do. At the very least, right now, email or call your U.S. Senator. Demand protection for Net neutrality.

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