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Save the Internet?

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Save the Internet?

Postby kotori » Thu 06.08.2006 5:25 pm

I know, it sounds really stupid. But it's actually a big issue in the US right now.

If you're familiar with the term "net neutrality" then you probably already stand on one side or the other of the issue.

Net neutrality is government regulation that states the service providers have to provide equal access to all parts of the internet, IE at the same quality as the service provider's own content. From the lowliest, crappiest blogger to the biggest megacorp, access is only affected by bandwidth, traffic, etc.

The big service providers want the ability to install gatekeepers. These are like toll roads on the internet.

One big company, Bell South, told Washington post that "an Internet service provider such as his firm should be able, for example, to charge Yahoo Inc. for the opportunity to have its search site load faster than that of Google Inc."

They claim it's to increase competition on the internet, and they also claim that it puts the internet in the hands of the users instead of the government. Except that right now, users determine the lifespan of a website by visiting and contributing, or simply letting it die.

Without net neutrality, the providers can decide who lives or dies on the internet based on who has deeper pockets. If TJP suddenly started taking 2 minutes to load every time you click a link, wouldn't you perhaps look for another place to learn Japanese? What happens to our community?

OK, so I'm sort of hitting below the belt with that last comment. But the idea of not being able to check out an online business, or even my local library's website just because my ISP got a big paycheck from Barnes & Noble doesn't sit well with me.

Please take a look at http://www.savetheinternet.com and add your voice to the over 700,000 that have already done so.

Sorry for sounding so doomsdayish, but I do think that this little issue has huge impact on the way things work right now vs how they'll work a year from now.
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RE: Save the Internet?

Postby queshaw » Thu 06.08.2006 5:58 pm

I'll have to go look at that more later, but when I looked at it before, I was baffled. If you look at the actual text of the COPE act:

http://www.benton.org/index.php?q=node/1882

I'm uncertain about... well all of the legal language, but I think the actual complaint is that the act says it will take authority away from the FCC to enforce what's described in the bill and give it to a committee which is not accountable to the people of america.

The act itself has language about preserving "competition neutrality". So, that is not what people would be wanting to be voted against, if they are urging congress people to vote no. It's confusing.

At the same time, there is news about big companies wanting to create a tiered internet.

I haven't seen it explained by any of the figures urging people to help preserve net neutrality. So, the impression is given that the bill directly promotes a tiered internet. I wish it were explained better.

It comes down to assertions by public figures that there is a relationship between the public statements of big media companies that they want to essentially turn the internet into a super-duper pay cable tv, and the COPE act. I haven't seen it explained clearly how that is the case.
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RE: Save the Internet?

Postby kotori » Thu 06.08.2006 6:09 pm

Net neutrality was a law, but it wasn't called net neutrality. It was just a communications law that guaranteed equal access. The telcos and other broadband service providers already managed to slip in under the radar and eliminate the net neutrality wording, as many consumers and consumer groups were actually unaware of its existence.

This new bill does not give any explicit rights to broadband providers, true. However, GIVEN the recent media announcements of intent by the big telcos and cable providers, savetheinternet proponents believe that net neutrality needs to go back in along with the COPE act to effectively head off such gatekeeping/tolling of internet traffic.
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RE: Save the Internet?

Postby queshaw » Thu 06.08.2006 6:41 pm

I had heard that it was never a law, it was an unstated convention. If it were a law that is being removed, that would be significant, and it would be a good idea for the savetheinternet people to say that clearly. If they have, then great. I didn't see it.

It is probably the case that the motivation for the act is to benefit big corporate interests at the expense of "net neutrality", and removing the FCC from having authority over the policy is probably a bad idea so voting against the COPE act is probably the right thing to do.

It's more certain that the demise of "net neutrality" is in the interests of big corporations. It's just frustrating for me that the precise reason for urging Congress people to vote against the COPE act is not being stated, as far as I can tell.

So, congress people will be getting these calls that say "save net neutrality, vote no on the COPE act". Now, if the congress person doesn't know about the issue and they talk to someone on the other side of the issue, they will be challenged. How does the COPE act threaten net neutrality? It's not being stated. So, in effect the save the internet people are setting themselves to be discredited, it seems to me.

Hopefully I've just not understood and it is clearly stated somewhere, and congress people are being given a clear message.
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RE: Save the Internet?

Postby kotori » Thu 06.08.2006 11:29 pm

They don't want people to vote no on COPE. They want Congress to include the addendum written that would reinstate net neutrality.
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RE: Save the Internet?

Postby Infidel » Fri 06.09.2006 12:55 am

I heard about this months ago. Basically it is a double charge. You are already paying for internet access and bandwith, the companies are already paying for their hosting and bandwith. These companies want to charge for bandwith AGAIN and do nothing but punish the free or cheap websites.
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