Yesterday Philebrity posted an article about 74 Democrat Congressmen who have come out against Net Neutrality.
I struggled with how to define Net Neutrality for you, but then I discovered that I had blogged about it before. I love being my own source! That post (re)directed me to Save the Internet, who over the past four years has further condensed the definition to the following:
Net Neutrality means that Internet service providers may not discriminate between different kinds of content and applications online. It guarantees a level playing field for all Web sites and Internet technologies.
… With Net Neutrality, the network’s only job is to move data — not to choose which data to privilege with higher quality service.
What does that mean for you?
Imagine if your internet provider could meter and limit your internet usage for different things, just like a cell phone plan or your cable TV subscription. Any of these statements could become true..
“Like to shop online? Shopping sites are just $5 extra a month!”
“Get your news from Fox – Fox sites load 10x faster than CNN on our network!”
“Are you an online gamer? Game for free overnight, 1am-8am. Standard hourly rates apply to peak time gaming.”
“Do you need to upload music for your band? Sorry, you’ll need our Business Plan to upload MP3s.”
Basically, ISPs would gain the right to selectively charge, tax, or even restrict your internet usage based on their own internal policies for or against certain sites, activities, or services. Wikipedia can tell you more about the reality of this threat to our internet freedoms.
I appreciate that the internet has been created as a level playing field for information, whether you’re a newshound or a gamer, a liberal or a conservative. It is terrifying to me to think that my blogging or music could be stymied because I can’t find an affordable carrier for it.
Which brings us back to the 74 Democrats, including my representative, Bob Brady.
Understandably, they are looking at the internet from a business and regulation perspective. In Brady’s case, Comcast is one of his biggest constituents. The reps hear companies and lobbyists saying, “We’re providing a utility, so let us regulate it!”
The internet should not become that kind of utility. As soon as you make the internet equivalent to cable TV or electricity, you start pricing people out of the amazing era of democratized production we’re currently a part of.
Yes, maybe businesses need to meter bandwidth, but should they really have power over the sites we access and the services we use? Once that door is opened it can never again be closed.
That is why I called my representative, Bob Brady, to tell him I do support Net Neutrality, and I do not support his signing Rep. Gene Green’s (D – TX) letter to the FCC arguing against neutrality. I told him I would campaign actively against him if he continued his stance.
Mr. Brady, consider this a shot fired across your bow.
You can read the full Rep. Green letter at Balloon Juice. It’s a small step, but if left unchallenged it leaves the door open for further action or legislation against Net Neutrality.
Below I have reproduced the letter and its list of signatories. If you see your representative on the list, please give their office a ring and comment – Philly residents, you need to call either Bob Brady (215) 389-4627 or Chaka Fattah (215) 387-6404. If you’re not sure what to say, I’ve included a sample script from Save the Internet.
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