The Democratic Activist
A nondiscriminatory, open, equally available internet represents perhaps the greatest advancement in human society since the invention of the printing press. A level playing field for all people, businesses, and ideas has supercharged the possibilities for democracy and real freedom in the world and for vastly improved economies and lifestyles across the globe.
However, the free and equal internet as we have always known it may be nearing extinction.
The Critical Issue ...
Telecom conglomerates (ATT, Viacom, Comcast, etc.) are trying to “buy” the internet! Their plan is to create a two-tiered system to maximize their private profits from an internet system originally created by public, government funding: a super fast new fiber optic internet for their best paying customers, and a slow “dirt road” for the rest of us. Only the biggest companies would be able to afford placement on the “super internet,” relegating other medium and small businesses, individuals, and organizations to the uncompetitiveness and obscurity of their internet “slow lane.”
The internet, under this horrible system, would quickly devolve into just another medium of commerce and advertisement for the biggest businesses in America, as happened with television several decades ago. Why would anyone patronize “Mom and Pop" bookstores or get their news at “So and So’s Blog” if using “Borders.com” or “Fox News” was 100 time faster, more convenient, and more reliable?! The critical democratizing aspect – the “level playing field” – of today’s internet, would be dead and gone.
That’s why groups as diverse as the conservative Gun Owners of America and the Christian Coalition on the right, and liberal MoveOn.org and the American Civil Liberties Union on the left, together with companies such as Google and Microsoft that depend on a free, vibrant, healthy internet for their survival, have come out strongly in support of re-enacting legislation to protect Net Neutrality (to replace laws put in place at the inception of the internet but allowed to expire in 2006 during the Republican 109th Congress).
Contrary to the deliberately deceitful pronouncements of giant telecoms and their supporters in Congress, the "Net Neutrality" movement does NOT seek to impose new regulations on the internet, but only to keep in place the legal protections and safeguards that have been in existence since the internet began -- the very laws which have enabled the amazing growth and innovation that has always characterized the internet, and for the tremendous social and economic advancement that a free and open internet has brought to our own country and to nations and peoples throughout the world.
But unfortunately, the fantastic, miraculous, nondiscriminatory internet as we know it may soon disappear from our lives ... without your support, and that of your concerned friends and associates.
Visit the following site to get full and complete information on the subject, and to find out what you can do to protect the internet from yet another attempt by “free market” oligarchs to kill competition and build an undemocratic information monopoly:
Here's another wonderful site that does an excellent job of presenting the true motives and intentions of the telecom industry, and how bad things could get if they succeed in turning the now public internet into their own private cash cow:
The following video, produced by savetheinternet.com, is a great introduction to critical need to reinstate strong federal Net Neutrality regulations:
For an entertaining if slightly irreverent look at the issue, click here to watch another video.
The Current Opportunity ...
We have already seen blatant moves towards making a two tier, censored toll road out of our wide open democratic internet. Comcast recently began unfairly discriminating against particular users and disfavored content, and, after first calling Net Neutrality a solution in search of a problem, AT&T then censored Pearl Jam's criticism of Bush during a live internet concert broadcast and Verizon likewise censored NARAL's pro choice text messages.
The FCC has bowed to pressure and is investigating complaints that Comcast is selectively blocking traffic. On 1/14/08, the FCC released a request for public comment on the establishment of rules to govern "network management practices by broadband network operators" -- i.e. the reinstitution of formal Net Neutrality regulations. The outcome of this investigation and the collecting of public comment on this question could be critical in the fight to defend the internet from usurpation by private corporate interests.
This is our chance ... to save the internet!
The deadline for filing public comments with the FCC on this issue is 2/13/08. To facilitate submission of public comments on this issue, John Leasch (a great "New Democrat" with a real shot at winning the congressional seat in Dennis Hastert's old district) and PEN (People's Email Network) have created an action page that pipes your personal comments into the FCC electronic filing system and also sends your messages to your congressional representatives at the same time!
The Urgent Call To Action ...
Now is a critical moment in the effort to save the internet, a pivot point in time when your action is urgently needed and its effectiveness will be greatly multiplied.
Here's what you can do:
1. Speak out! Use the action page to send your comment strongly supporting the adoption of strict federal Net Neutrality rules to the FCC and your congressional reps. Tell them that you ardently support federal regulations guaranteeing true Net Neutrality, and that you oppose any attempts by giant telecoms to weaken or dismantle the foundational principle of internet freedom and neutrality for all people, organizations, and businesses, large or small.
2. Spead the word! Send a link to this post to everyone you know who appreciates the internet miracle or who depends on it in their business or daily lives (isn't that just about everyone?), and urge them to send their comments in support of Net Neutrality to the FCC before the 2/13/08 deadline passes.
If enough of us put out enough energy on this, doing our duty as citizens and internet users, we can keep the precious public internet out of clutches of corporate media conglomerates, and keep it the free, open, neutral, miraculous shared resource it is today.
Let's do it!
File those comments!
Spread the word!
Pass it on.
The Democratic Activist