Jan 15, 2014

Is Net Neutrality Dead? Who Says You Should Have the Freedom to Move About Freely? Stop Complaining! We Live in the Most Free Country in the World!

This past Tuesday a US Court of Appeals closed the door to the free internet and gave a huge victory to the telcos, which now could control the flow of information and commerce on cyberworld. But, this situation can be reversed if enough citizens mobilize and pressure the FCC and Congress to change this. Net Neurality ought to be the platform for the internet; common carriers shouldn't be monopolies or oligopolies.

Amazingly this is an issue--for net neutrality--that has attracted a very diverse coalition, from the conservative to the liberal side, because most people appreciate the equal access to the world wide web, without restrictions. In the past, there has been such large coalition that beat back the telcos efforts, but due to the lax and politicized FCC, the issue wasn't settled in favor of the consumer and for the citizens.

It is about good citizenship when anyone could go to any site at the same speed, through the same toll road. I could even argue why access to the internet should be completely free--as it is in some cities who have such networks. Nowadays, the internet is essential to finding a job, being informed, communicate, organize, know what our government is doing, and enhance the notion & practice of citizenship.

Tolls, bridges, roads

Imagine if a bridge is built, especially with government initiative, subsidies, and other beneficial regulations. Now the bridge is private and the owner can allow certain vehicles/people to cross it. And, that if you're allowed on the bride, you're put on a very sloooooooooow lane. Oh, yes, much, much slower that any other place in the advanced industrialized world. [the US lags way behind other countries in internet speed & infrastructure]

Let the free market operate, is the mantra of many talking heads on Fox and CNBC (and I'm sure elsewhere). How would companies invest if they don't know how much they'll make because of regulation?... they add. Bullshit, I say. Unregulated capitalism leads to monopolies (NO competition), child (slave) labor, no consumer protection, etc. It's been tried before you know. Any serious advanced country regulates the market place. American sports franchises do this to ensure competition. The NFL divides its huge media profits in 32 equal ways--a communist practice if you asked me. But, it works!

Imagine if you were told that once you paid the toll to get on the highway, you couldn't just take any exit, or that some exits cost more than others. Or, that you could travel on certain roads as a package. You know, like when you have the choices (not) of cable tv. It's an oligopoly at best--whereas there are two choices available. Where I've lived in the last several decades when cable tv was available, I had NO choice. One provider, and an expensive one at that.

Free Press has more information and course of action, but be alert in the near future. We have to retake this freedom from the telcos, so please mobilize and engage in active citizenship. It is about freedom, political and consumer. Everybody who uses the internet is affected.