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Is this who you want defining how the Web will be run in the future?

Rep. Charles "Chip" Pickering, a Mississippi Republican who co-sponsored the House's broadband bill, defended his committee's proposal in a luncheon speech to summit participants. He noted that politicians are "still wrestling" with the best way to address Net neutrality but conceded that election-year politics might trump major changes to the existing bill.

With the Republican Party in "survival mode" leading up to the fall elections, committee leaders have attempted to "pare something down that we can actually move so we can have accomplishments, so we can continue in the majority," Pickering said.

The whole idea of Net Neutrality is what makes the Internet, and the web such a powerful, democratic medium.  Innovation and success come from anywhere, and the playing field is leveled.

But the GOP is on the verge of handling the keys to the Internet to the Telcos, and turn the web into a 24/7 controlled access network, where Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast will determine what web sites you can access, what email you can receive, and what you can say on your website.

In short, the Republicans are on the verge of allowing these large companies to virtually "own" the Internet.  Now, a little history.  The Internet was developed by U.S. taxpayers through the military (DARPA) and the NSF.  The current standards that make up the Internet (TCP/IP, HTTP, XML, SMTP) are all international, open standards.  No one owns these, rather, they are all in the public domain.  The Internet, and the Web, were designed to be neutral, international, and owned by no one.

So now Verizon and AT&T are making the argument that because they own the fiber on which all this Internet data travels, they should be able to dictate to you and I "terms of use", e.g. what content will be allowed to travel over it.

The proponents of Net Neutrality are saying that terms of use are up to content providers (e.g. each individual website), and the providers of the pipes (Verizon and AT&T) can develop their own content, but cannot tell us what we can and cannot access or provide to the rest of the web.

Rep. John Dingell, the committee's senior Democrat, is still evaluating the best legislative approach but is "deeply concerned" about the potential for extra fees being imposed on Internet content and application providers and the subsequent effect on consumers, Shelton said.

Plainly said, Dingell knows that this bill will guarantee that you'll be able to get on your browser, while might not work so well, or be totally blocked.

Network operators say they deserve the right to charge premium fees to bandwidth hogs in order to offset their vast investments in infrastructure and to ensure the quality and security of their products. Internet companies and consumer groups counter that they already pay vast amounts to broadband providers to deliver content and that the new business model network operators are proposing would force them to pay twice.

Hmmm, so if a site like Dailykos or Crooks and Liars has a lot of traffic, we should pay more to access them.  Yeah, that's the ticket to democracy.

So do you still think this IS NOT a GOP strategy for control over what you can say?

Proponents of Net neutrality, which critics charge has no clear definition, would like to see detailed regulations barring what they decry as threats to the Internet's open architecture. So far, they have won over some congressional Democrats but made less headway on the other side of the aisle.

What to do?  Support Inoyue for a start.  Light a fire under your reps.  Don't sit and let the GOP ride roughshod over this vital resource.

The Senate's current language isn't set in stone, and Stevens will continue to work with Inouye and other committee members to develop a consensus, Sutherland added. Go here to sign up and check how your rep voted:

Originally posted to Calee4nia on Tue May 09, 2006 at 05:31 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks for bringing this up again here (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This is too important to ignore. And mainstream media is doing a pathetic job of publicizing it.

    Throw Richard Pombo out of the House! Support Jerry McNerney

    by Naturegal on Tue May 09, 2006 at 05:56:07 PM PDT

  •  Here is a quick action link... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stranger than Fiction, tooblue

    It's a link to the Action Page, where you can quickly write to your representatives in Congress, write a letter to your local paper, or sign the petition to oppose this awful legislation. There are reports of very heavy lobbyist efforts in support of the legislation. And why not, since its expected that the corporations would reap billions in profits from its passage. (If you'd like a bit more info on lobbyist involvement, use this link.)

    [ Click here to save the internet.]

    by Wordie on Tue May 09, 2006 at 05:57:37 PM PDT

  •  Why mainstream media ignore this issue (0+ / 0-)

    Network neutrality is essential for the people to have access to information, particularly video content that shows how events actually happpened.  With access to streaming video, people can sidestep any dependence on mainstream media and go straight to the source (well... as much as any video shot from a particular perspective can do so).

    Witness the mainstream media's lack of reaction to Colbert's speech at the Press Corp Dinner: marginalizing, ignoring, or insulting Colbert as being "not funny" --as if being funny was the whole point of the speech. (He was indeed cuttingly funny, but that's not the main point.  The point is that he told truth straight to the face of power, in a way that can embolden others to do the same and to not feel that it would be "too rude" or too "unpatriotic" to do so.)

    As Don Hazen puts it in his Alternet Column:

    The second reason Colbert made such a huge splash is the rapid advance of video on the web. Almost overnight, the media world has irrevocably changed as video is increasingly becoming as important as print and still images on the web. When, in a matter of hours, dozens of websites can post or link to a video and get the word out about a spectacular event, the role of the gatekeepers and the corporate media shrinks big-time. And it doesn't matter if the networks or CNN or Fox decides that they don't want you to see it -- they can't stop it. The people's network is now in working order. Progressives now have a television capacity; still rudimentary, perhaps, but powerfully effective.

    "The role of the media as gatekeeprs shrinks..."  If that's the case, then this makes sense as to why the mainstream media have given this vital issue woefullly inadequate coverage.

    The potential for mainstream media to pay to have their commentary on an event be more easily accessible than, say, C-Span's video of the event itself would keep them in the "gatekeeper" role, and keep their advertising revenues higher.

    Network neutrality is essential to the ability of the "the people's network" to advance the ideals of a democratic society.  That's the last thing the mainstream media seem to want.

    If you also care about the integrity of the people's network, I too encourage you to go to and send emails to and call your representatives in Congress and Senate.  It's not --quite-- too late.

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