Tag: net-neutrality

Senate to vote on net neutrality next week

| November 4, 2011 | Reply
Senate to vote on net neutrality next week

The U.S. Senate is expected to vote next week on one of the most important issues that most folks aren’t well tuned into: Net Neutrality. If this vote goes badly, or if Barack Obama fails to veto the result, that will be the end of the Internet as we know it, because the Internet will become much more like cable television, with corporate controlled options regarding permitted websites and acceptable software and devices.

Free Press is offering a basic Q & A on net neutrality here.

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Telecommunications industry working overtime to misrepresent net neutrality

| August 24, 2011 | 6 Replies
Telecommunications industry working overtime to misrepresent net neutrality

I don’t believe that money is speech, but I’ve repeatedly seen that money motivates dishonest speech, much of it uttered by paid “experts.” This money-motivated dishonesty is a recurring problem regarding many issues, including the topic of this article, net neutrality.

On August 8, 2011, I was pleased to see that the St. Louis Post-Dispatch published my letter to the editor on the topic of net neutrality.  Here’s the full text of my letter:

Maintain neutrality

We pay Internet service providers to move data from point to point. We don’t pay them to steer us to selected sites (by speeding up access times) or to discourage us from using other sites (by slowing down or blocking access). Nor do we pay them to decide what applications we can use over the Internet.

I should be free to use Skype even if it competes with the phone company’s own telephone service. Giving Internet users this unimpeded choice of content and applications is the essence of “net neutrality,” and it has inspired unceasing innovation over the Internet.

The Senate soon may vote on a “resolution of disapproval” that would strip the Federal Communications Commission of its authority to protect Americans from potential abuses. If it passes, net neutrality would be at serious risk.

Congress is under big pressure (and receiving big money) from companies like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon, who want to become the gatekeepers of the Internet. They would like to carve up the Internet so that it would become like cable TV, with tiered plans and limited menus of content that they would dictate. Phone companies should not be allowed to dictate how we use the Internet.

I urge Sens. Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt to support net neutrality by voting against the resolution of disapproval.

Erich Vieth • St. Louis

I wrote this letter as a concerned citizen.  I have long been concerned about net neutrality.  I have seen ample evidence that increasingly monopolistic telecommunications companies have no qualms about forcibly assuming the role of Internet gate-keeper.  As for-profit entities, their instinct is to limit our Internet choices if it would make them ever greater piles of money. Call me a pragmatist based on America’s television experience; telecommunications companies want to control how we use the Internet much like cable TV companies shove users into programming packages in order to maximize profit.

On August 18, 2011, I noticed that the Post-Dispatch published an anti-net-neutrality letter. Here is the text of that letter:

[More . . . ]

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An excellent primer on net neutrality

| May 9, 2011 | 2 Replies
An excellent primer on net neutrality

Net Neutrality is not about government takeover of the Internet.   This claim of a government takeover is a lie being spread by Republicans who have taken steps to give the big telecoms control over the kinds of programs you can make use of over the Internet and the kind of content that is freely accessible.

Please, take a only a minute or two, to join me and take action on this critical issue. Your voice is needed to counteract AT&T’s annual $15 Million in campaign contributions, and 93 full-time lobbyists.

In this video, Senator Al Franken explains net neutrality, using YouTube as the perfect example. I’ve been following this issue closely for several years, but I’ve never before heard net neutrality explained more clearly than Senator Franken explains it here:

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Comcast is trying to destroy the Internet

| November 30, 2010 | 2 Replies
Comcast is trying to destroy the Internet

Today I received the following email from Free Press on the issue of net neutrality:

In the past 24 hours, Comcast has been caught abusing its massive media power, stomping on competitors and violating Net Neutrality.

The New York Times reported last night that Comcast threatened to cut off Netflix streaming video unless the company that carries the traffic paid huge tolls.1

Earlier in the day, Comcast was exposed for trying to bar cheaper cable modems from its network — a clear violation of Net Neutrality.

This is what a media monopoly looks like in the Internet age — one company, consolidating its media power to squash competitors, stifle innovation and price-gouge consumers.

Such outrageous abuse comes just days before FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is expected to finally propose new Net Neutrality rules to come up for a vote in December. It’s never been more crucial that he hear from you.

If the FCC stays on the sidelines, Comcast will turn the Internet into cable TV, where it gets to pick the channels, overcharge you for them, and decide what downloads quickly and whose voices are heard.

Comcast is the same company that wants to take over NBC Universal in one of the biggest media mergers in a generation. It’s not just the Internet at stake here. It’s the future of all media: television, radio, social networks… and our democracy itself.

If you find this information disturbing, you can do something about it. Sign this message to the FCC: “Don’t Let Comcast Kill the Internet.”

Oh, and the malicious actions of Comcast go far beyond what Karr outlined above. See the article of Timothy Karr of Free Press in the Huffington Post. In that article you can read the Eight Count Indictment Karr levels against Comcast. It includes counts for anti-competitive activity regarding modems, the inexcusable request to merge with NBC Universal, censoring the speech of Vinh Pham, who dared to criticize Comcast on his blog (Comcast contacted the company that hosts Pham’s blog and demanded the entire blog be censored) and blocking public access at a public hearing regarding public access to the Internet. Comcast needs to be slapped down big time, and the FCC needs you to ferociously pressure them to do what is obviously needed.

For more information:

1. New York Times, “Netflix Partner Says Comcast ‘Toll’ Threatens Online Video Delivery.”

2. Free Press, “Zoom Complaint Against Comcast a Reason for FCC to Act.”

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Big money causes President Obama to choke on net neutrality

| August 15, 2010 | 3 Replies
Big money causes President Obama to choke on net neutrality

Do you remember the way candidate Obama spoke out fervently in favor of net neutrality throughout his campaign? Check out this video compilation of some of his many pre-election pro-net-neutrality pronouncements.

Guess what? Now that Google and Verizon have decided that a multi-tier non-neutral arrangement will help their profits statements, Obama is unwilling to fight back. Just as he failed to do regarding single payer health care. Just like he failed to do when Wall Street “reform” failed to address too-big-to-fail and failed to reinstate Glass-Steagall (and see here). Just like he did when the military-industrial complex insisted on ramping up U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan. Just like he fail to do as he continues to drag his feet on Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell. Now Obama is unwilling to fight back in support of net neutrality: “President Obama campaigned on net neutrality, and yet the White House has been surprisingly quiet on the issue since the breakdown of FCC negotiations and in the wake of Google and Verizon’s joint policy proposal.”

President Obama has lost his voice regarding net neutrality even though

Joel Kelsey, political advisor with nonprofit media-reform group Free Press, “said the proposal would create “tollbooths on the information superhighway.”

“It’s a signed, sealed and delivered policy framework with giant loopholes that blesses the carving up of the Internet for a few deep-pocketed Internet companies and carriers,” he said in a statement.

In the midst of all of this hypocrisy, Obama’s Press Secretary Robert Gibbs unloaded on the “professional left,” insisting that ” “They will be satisfied when we have Canadian healthcare and we’ve eliminated the Pentagon. That’s not reality.”

How about this, Mr. Gibbs? Barack Obama has repeatedly proven that he would rather have any sort of deal than a deal that achieves the principles Mr. Obama announced in his campaign speeches.

Obama achieved some good things too, but how is anything mentioned at the top of this post differ from anything john McCain would have done? Except, perhaps, when he called the health care bill “reform” instead of calling it the “send gushers of tax money and forced clientele to the health insurance industry.”

The above-described failures didn’t occur in a vacuum. We also seen his refusal to bring American torturers to justice. We’ve seen expansion of off-shore oil drilling. He’s authorized remote-controlled drone attacks on Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen, where these are conducted by the CIA, and in which numerous civilians have been killed, and we have good reason to believe that many other deaths of innocent people have been covered up.

I voted for Barack Obama, but I’m sorely disappointed. Not that there was any other reasonable place to put my vote. From now one, though, I am going to judge Barack Obama solely by what he does, not by his elegant campaign speeches.

For additional trustworthy information on the Google-Verizon deal, see this list of articles at Free Press.

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Net Neutrality: The first amendment issue of our time?

| July 27, 2010 | 1 Reply
Net Neutrality: The first amendment issue of our time?

Please watch Senator Al Franken explaining why Net Neutrality is one of the most important issues of our time:

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FCC caving on net neutrality

| May 4, 2010 | 1 Reply
FCC caving on net neutrality

Josh Silver of Free Press is reporting terrible news on the issue of net neutrality:

On Sunday, the Washington Post reported that the Federal Communications Commission is expected to abandon its pledges to protect Net Neutrality and to ensure universal, affordable broadband. The story cites anonymous insiders confirming that FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is “leaning toward” siding with the most powerful phone and cable lobbyists on a crucial decision: whether the FCC will have any authority to protect an open Internet and make it available to all.

It is a testament to the phone and cable industry’s overwhelming influence that they seem to have convinced the nation’s communications agency to swear off authority to protect Americans’ right to open communications. But it is stunning that Genachowski would even contemplate allowing it to stand, given President Obama’s repeated pledge to ensure fast, affordable, universal Internet broadband for every American.

The FCC has the power to correct the damage done by a recent Court of Appeals decision that has heightened this crisis. Josh Silver explains:

In early April, a a federal appeals court ruled that, based on decisions by the Bush-era FCC, the agency lacks the authority to regulate broadband providers. In so doing, the court effectively handed control of the Internet to companies like Comcast, AT&T and Verizon — allowing them to slow down or block any website, any blog post, any tweet, any outreach by a congressional campaign. The FCC no longer has the power to stop them. Fortunately, the FCC does have the power to easily fix the problem by “reclassifying” broadband under the law. All it would take is a vote by its five commissioners — and Genachowski already has the votes.

This is your chance to take action–it will take you 3 minutes to write to Chairman Julius Genachowski–remind him that he represents the People of the United States, not the telecoms. Or as Art Brodsky of media public interest group Public Knowledge says,

The telephone and cable companies will object to any path the chairman takes . . . He might as well take the one that best protects consumers and is most legally sound.

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This about sums up the state of the national media

| April 7, 2010 | 1 Reply
This about sums up the state of the national media

Glen Lyons of Salon describes the state of the national media:

The average citizen hardly knows what to believe anymore. Due to the parlous state of professional journalism; the Internet; cable TV “news” networks and talk radio shouters; and the ceaseless din of the right-wing noise machine, the public is daily confronted with make-believe news, doctored quotes, fake history and phony data.

In my opinion, Lyons has it about right. Most people I know don’t want to spend immense amounts of time picking through the “news” to figure out what they should actually believe. Out of fatigue and frustration, they tend to lock on to one or two sources of information, despite the fact that most media sources are not motivated to be trusted as sources of information. Rather, based on what they are actually reporting, and how they are reporting it, they are primarily motivated to make money. Hence, Tiger’s affairs get much more coverage than critical national issues and contentious sound-bites are offered to us instead of careful analysis of issues.

[more . . . ]

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Time for you to remind Congress about the importance of net neutrality

| January 11, 2010 | 2 Replies
Time for you to remind Congress about the importance of net neutrality

The largest telephone and cable companies have a new vision for the Internet. Instead of a level playing field, they want to reserve express lanes for their own content and services — or those of big corporations that can afford the steep tolls — and leave the rest of us on a winding dirt road. As you would expect, they are spending hundreds of millions of dollars lobbying Congress and the Federal Communications Commission to gut Net Neutrality, putting the future of the Internet at risk. Independent voices and political groups are especially vulnerable. Political organizing could be slowed by the handful of dominant Internet providers that ask advocacy groups or candidates to pay to join the “fast lane.”

We need to make Net Neutrality the law of the land to ensure that all networks are open and free from discrimination. That’s why the Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2009 (H.R. 3458) (introduced by Reps. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.)) is so important. Take action today to pass this bill and to make Net Neutrality the law. This is not a bill you should fear. It is a 13-page bill written in plain English and it will protect your rights. No need to trust me on the interpretation of this bill. Take ten minutes and read the entire bill yourself. It is loaded with protections for all of us who believe in the freedom to use the Internet without interference by a telephone or cable company.

It’s time to tell the telecoms that they shall not be the Internet gate-keepers. You can do this by signing the SavetheInternet.com petition. Tell Congress to pass Net Neutrality legislation today. Here are the FAQs regarding net neutrality. More than 1.6 million people have already called for Congress and the FCC to support Net Neutrality. It takes only a couple minutes to add your voice too. You’ll be part of the team that is about to send a resounding message that Washington won’t be able to ignore.

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