Save the Internet

Congress is now pushing a law that would end the free and open Internet as we know it. Internet providers like AT&T and Verizon are lobbying Congress hard to gut Network Neutrality, the Internet’s First Amendment and the key to Internet freedom. Net Neutrality prevents AT&T from choosing which websites open most easily for you based on which site pays AT&T more.

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More info at the Save the Internet FAQ.

15 Comments so far

  1. BPJohns (unregistered) on May 4th, 2006 @ 4:53 pm

    While this seems like a noteworthy effort, (and others on the coalition) aren’t doing anything good for consumers or anything good for themselves – they are using (i.e. the FAQ) scare tactics to make people believe that they will have to start paying for emails or that organizations won’t be able to fundraise anymore on the Internet – simply not true. You’ve all driven on Dulles Toll Road, right? If you drive a car you pay a certain amount – if you drive a truck, you pay a higher amount. This is the same as the “Internet highway.” Trucks tear up roads, take up more space, and should be paying more to keep them up – same deal with the Yahoo’s, Google’s and others of the world. Should Yahoo pay the same amount as Joe Shmo wireless Internet user in Loudon County who wants to send 20 or 30 emails a day? I don’t know who can agree to that – and that’s what will happen with Net Neutrality if it’s passed.

    If you’re looking for a balanced look at the issue (or at the least the “other side”), check out Hands Off The Internet – the anti-government regulation side – at Let’s not try to “fix” a problem when there isn’t even one yet.

  2. Rick D. (unregistered) on May 4th, 2006 @ 5:17 pm

    Amen to BPJohns. “Net Neutrality” is Congressional market tinkering at its worst. The fact that is fueling the movement for new regulations ought to tell everyone something.

    Every free-market group, Wall Street and most tech scholars think this scheme by MoveOn will set us back years in internet development. If Wall Street investors run from the ‘net, which they certainly will if we start regulating it to death, who’s going to pay for broadband deployment?

    Congress gets paid to solve tangible problems for the public good. “Net neutrality” is a hypothetical sky-is-falling nightmare scenario concocted by people that somehow trust government more than free-markets.

    It all makes me long for the days when all MoveOn cared about was Clinton’s sex scandal. Who knew they’d become tech policy gurus?

  3. Tom Bridge (unregistered) on May 4th, 2006 @ 5:29 pm

    Net Neutrality is key here, this is a crusade by greedy telcos. Tom from DCist had a great thing on his personal blog the other day, and you should read it:Some Things Are Simple

  4. Stacey (unregistered) on May 4th, 2006 @ 5:33 pm

    I’m with my first two brothers in Free Markets. If your goal is keeping the market a market then we’ll keep congressional prodding off something that is clearly NOT a problem.

    Would I look at 20th street out the window and say “well, there’s a lot of traffic. In 2022 there will probably be a big traffic problem and the road will probably be warn down – let’s appropriate for that now, assuming that will happen.” Not a chance – and that’s what this is. Fixing before it happens.

    The only greedy people here are the content providers who don’t want to own up for their fair share.

  5. Tom Bridge (unregistered) on May 4th, 2006 @ 5:36 pm

    The reasoning behind the telcos attacks are laughable, “We’re not getting paid?” Bullshit. They’re absolutely getting paid, both by content provider AND by consumer.

  6. Tom Bridge (unregistered) on May 4th, 2006 @ 5:41 pm

    I have a problem with this because it’s just speech prevention under a different name. Freemarkets are great, but not when there’s artificial scarcity.

  7. Tom (unregistered) on May 4th, 2006 @ 9:17 pm

    Don’t be fooled. The big telcos are now supposed to be defenders of the free market? These guys push for more regulation than just about anyone else; and now they want to play the free market card?

    Just look at what Verizon did when Philly said they wanted to operate a municipal wifi network. They ran straight to Harrisburg to push for legislation to protect their asses.

    I’m all for free markets, but I’d rather make the internet a level playing field so that the new players and little guys will have a shot at that market. That’s really how you support free market economics, not by taking huge telecoms side.

    The moveon’s are no better. They can’t understand that the place to talk about Net Neutrality is not at the Federal level but at the local level. Start a grass roots campaign by raising the Net Neutrality issue in every small town council in which Verizon or AT&T applies for a video over IP cable TV franchise.

    Check out what I am doing in my town: and encourage others to turn this into a grass roots local issue.

    — Tom

  8. Rick D. (unregistered) on May 4th, 2006 @ 10:01 pm

    Can any of the pro-regulation posters point to a single case of discrimination today? What problem is net neutrality legislation going to solve today? You all sound reflexively anti-bell for some reason. Sure, they are easy to hate, but just because you don’t care for the industry is no reason to enact harmful regulation. Why don’t we address this problem when there is one???

  9. Rick D. (unregistered) on May 4th, 2006 @ 10:08 pm

    …and one more thing.

    Does it seem reasonable that a company like Gooooooogle can deliver it’s customers (you and me) content of all sizes and shapes for one size?

    If there were a mail order company that paid its carrier a flat rate for every package it sent its customers, regardless the weight, 5 lbs. or 500 lbs., you wouldn’t want to be in the business of carrying packages, would you?

    I’m not suggesting I want the telcos or cable to charge more for higher bandwidth services, I enjoy the flat rate as much as anyone, but it’s easy to see why they resent the free-ride attitude of eBay, Amazon, Apple (iTunes), etc.

  10. Tom Bridge (unregistered) on May 4th, 2006 @ 10:56 pm

    Rick, you clearly don’t have a grasp on how bandwidth billing works. If I sign up for a business grade line, like a T1, I get to max out the bandwidth on that line, 24/7, for the whole billing period. The same is true if I lease a T3, or an OC-12. Your analogy of a shipping company is completely bogus, and I’ll thank you not to prop up such a straw man again.

  11. Doug (unregistered) on May 4th, 2006 @ 11:25 pm

    Tim Berners-Lee has an interesting blog post on this topic if visitors here haven’t seen it. After reading Neutrality of the Net you might also find the ensuing comments worthwhile.

  12. Don (unregistered) on May 5th, 2006 @ 11:22 am

    I’m all for keeping the fed intervention small when possible but I don’t see how that’s doable here. How can network peering be managed and regulated at the local level? Putting aside the question of whether or not that kind of local twiddling would violate the prohibition of states monkeying with state-to-state commerce all any of these telco clowns would need to do is buy themselves the government of whatever locality has the peer point they want to rape. I’d think Kelo v New London would have shown us just how corrupted a local government can be by corporate interests with deep pockets and what happens to the little guy.

    As far as this nonsense about Google paying the same rate as the little guy that’s just bonkers. Aside from Tom’s very clear explanation above you can find the language in your Verizon/Cox/Adelphia/Whoeever contract for your home Internet connection that is very explicit about your not being allowed to run services, limits on your ‘unlimited’ bandwidth, etc. EVERYONE connected to the next on either end is already paying their fair share and any business who feels like they’re not getting what they deserve is free to raise their rates.

    The problem here isn’t anyone not getting paid, it’s that it rankles the providers to not be able to double-dip on the deep pockets like Google. This concern – and their and Rick D’s propaganda – is akin to Verizon grumping that when their customer calls a “time and temperature” BellSouth customer that they don’t get paid. Of course you go paid – by your customer for their phone. “But that time and temperature number gets a million times more calls than any consumer number!” Maybe true… and BellSouth should take that into consideration when determining what to charge them.

    The networks don’t like peering to each other and not getting their pound of flesh, but that’s not the fault of Google or Time&Temperature – that peering is what’s necessary to make their service worthwhile. If they don’t think it’s worth it they’re free to stop peering… and watch people stop using them because there’s no value to their service. Otherwise they need to shut the hell up and price themselves according to what it takes for them to provide a worthwhile network.

    The really laughable thing is that these folks should all be kissing Google et all’s collective ass for making their service more desirable. For someone who makes widgets to complain about widgets being made popular and in demand is just… insane.

  13. Krempasky (unregistered) on May 6th, 2006 @ 10:12 am

    Any “problem” whose answer is “give the FCC the power to regulate” is no problem I want to solve.

  14. Don (unregistered) on May 6th, 2006 @ 5:53 pm

    As little as I like government regulation, I like being held hostage to monopoly powers who are granted use of OUR right-of-ways for their data channels even less.

  15. Doug (unregistered) on May 6th, 2006 @ 6:46 pm

    Make no mistake, I did not post this in order to spark a debate. You are free to do so and that alone is proof enough. Argue on my friends, freely.

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