Example: [Collected via e-mail, 2006]
Do you buy books online, use Google, or download to an Ipod? These activities will be hurt if Congress passes a radical law that gives giant corporations more control over the Internet.
Internet providers like AT&T and Verizon are lobbying Congress hard to gut Network Neutrality, the Internet's First Amendment. Net Neutrality prevents AT&T from choosing which websites open most easily for you based on which site pays AT&T more. Amazon.com doesn't have to outbid
Politicians don't think we are paying attention to this issue. Many of them take campaign checks from big telecom companies and are on the verge of selling out to people like AT&T's CEO, who openly says, "The internet can't be free."
The free and open Internet is under seige — can you sign this petition letting your member of Congress know you support preserving Network Neutrality? Click here: http://www.civic.moveon.org/save_the_internet
A list of all the ways you might be affected by Net Neutrality is located on the bottom of this link: http://civic.moveon.org/alerts/savetheinternet.html
In recent months, however, some of the telephone and cable companies that control the telecommunications networks over which Internet data flows have floated the idea of creating the electronic equivalent of a paid carpool lane
You see that congestion when streaming video stops streaming or when the download bar on your computer slows down. So phone companies, which have limited capacity on copper lines, are proposing special tolls on Internet companies to, in effect, set aside a special lane of fast-moving traffic. Cable companies also would benefit.
For instance, online film sites like CinemaNow Inc. might have to pay a premium to send movies uninterrupted, or Apple Computer Inc.'s iTunes Music Store might tack an extra fee on a song download to guarantee instant delivery.
- They are entitled to regulate how their networks are used, including imposing surcharges for premium services or charging "different prices for different levels of speed, reliability and security."
- Their networks are becoming increasingly congested due to the proliferation of high-bandwidth applications such as video and music downloads and video games, and implementing a fee structure is a fair way of balancing network usage.
- Network neutrality is "meant to ensure there is no impediment to anybody's ability to fully utilize the Net," but it does not mean that "your company and my company cannot reach commercial agreements to provide you with services that enhance your position."
- Surcharges imposed on information providers will ultimately be passed along to end users.
- Charging fees for premium data delivery service will create a tiered system of have and have-not providers, making it difficult or impossible for new businesses, information providers, and other ventures to get a start on the Internet.
- The implementation of a fee system will effectively allow broadband companies, and not users, to determine which sites predominate on the Internet.
As always, we encourage those who wish to communicate their feelings about a political issue to their governmental representatives to do more than add their names to an Internet petition, such as writing or phoning their representatives directly.
Last updated: 25 April 2006
Granelli, James S. "Phone, Cable May Charge Dot-Coms That Want to Race Along the Internet." Los Angeles Times. 9 April 2006 (P. A1). Ho, David. "Coalition Launches Push to Keep Internet Open." Palm Beach Post. 25 April 2006. Johnson, Bary Alyssa. "Coalition Sounds Off on Net Neutrality Legislation." PC Magazine. 24 April 2006.