Will The Public Ever Get Energized About Net Neutrality?

al franken

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minnesota)

Net Neutrality

Sometimes I wonder what it is going to take to get the public more galvanized on the issue of protecting Net Neutrality. As if the Supreme Court’s enthusiastic approval of oligarchy wasn’t enough, we’re facing another one of the biggest threats to free speech and democracy – corporate control of the Web.

Basically, the telecommunications industry wants to erect tollbooths on the Internet. They want to make content creators pay top dollar for their web sites to download faster. They want to choose winners and losers, get rid of competition and make consumers cough up more money. Gutting net neutrality is great if you’re a certain cable company, like, say, Comcast, who wants to merge with a certain entertainment company, like, say, NBC Universal, and combined, you wish to crush any troublesome Internet entertainment startup. Gutting net neutrality would also be great news for the giant television news outlets and bad news for any of the myriad of web sites that criticize them.

Unfortunately, net neutrality was never the sexiest political issue. So maybe the announcement last week that Google and Verizon were proposing to put up the tollbooths on the wireless Internet (your smartphone) would wake people up. Google was initially the premier corporate champion of net neutrality, so the company’s about-face shocked and angered many. Apparently, since Google is now getting into the cell phone business, suddenly net neutrality was no longer good for the bottom line.

Google and Verizon swear they want to keep the wired Internet (your PC) free and open, but the proverbial camel’s nose is sniffing under that tent. Consumer and media reform groups and some lawmakers have been the most vocal advocates for net neutrality. But greater support for net neutrality has to come from average Joes and Janes who use the Web. Too many people I fear are still apathetic on this issue. If you don’t start bugging your representatives, you may one day find that your favorite web sites are taking five minutes or more to load. Or you may find you have to pay extra for content you once got for free.

Comedian and now U.S. Senator from Minnesota, Al Franken, has been at the forefront in fighting for net neutrality in Congress. Today, at 4PM PST (6PM Central), the Federal Communications Commission is holding ahearing in Minneapolis on the issue. The proceedings will be streamed live.

In the video below, Franken talks on local Minnesota television about the importance of net neutrality.

sylvia moore

Below are some good opinion pieces about net neutrality:

Google-Verizon Deal: The End of The Internet as We Know It
Our view on ‘net neutrality’: Don’t erect tollbooths on information superhighway

To show your support for net neutrality, sign Sen. Franken’s petition and send your comments to the FCC by going to Save the Internet. And also, call, write and fax your congressperson and senators. If you don’t know your representatives, you can look them up by entering your zip code on Congress.org.

Sylvia Moore

Reposted with permission from the LA Media Reform.

Published by the LA Progressive on August 21, 2010
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About Sylvia Moore

Sylvia Moore is a Los Angeles-area blogger, writer and activist who spent several years as a newspaper reporter in central California. Sylvia has volunteered on behalf of healthcare, media reform and getting money out of politics. She is Second Vice President for the Culver City Democratic Club, a member of the 54th AD Democratic Club, and an elected delegate to the Democratic Party State Central Committee. Sylvia is also a part-time Blog Editor for California OneCare (www.californiaonecare.org), an organization working to pass a universal, single-payer healthcare system in California. In her spare time, Sylvia organizes Los Angeles Progressive Friends (http://www.meetup.com/lAProgressiveFriends/), a social group for L.A.-area liberals. - See more at: http://www.laprogressive.com/author/sylvia-moore/#sthash.8z90JW22.dpuf