Thursday, October 19, 2006

Moyers on America . The Net @ Risk | PBS

There was an excellent Bill Moyers show on PBS last night, and one segment of it dealt with the net neutrality issue. It is excellent and I highly reccomend that people visit Bill Moyer's site and check out the videos. It is a scary time for the voice of the ordinary citizen, at risk as the telcos and cable companies seek to control the internet highway. We are at a major crossroads. For a short while we had a movement toward equality of voice through the web and the connections we can make. Now our short attempt at flattening the earth and chipping away at the controlling hierarchies is at risk - because net neutrality is at risk...

"So why "neutrality?" Because since the Internet's inception, everyone, every site, regardless of the data load, has been given equal-i.e., neutral-treatment by providers, their content transmitted at equal speed. Net neutrality advocates argue that changing this system will give unfair advantage to deep-pocketed content providers, while start-ups, small businesses, and nonprofits who can't pay the piper will be unduly punished. The telecom proponents of the tiered system insist that they need these new fees (in addition to those paid by their users) to recoup the costs of updating their networks to handle all the new data-heavy content. Many also object to the additional government regulation and involvement that would be necessary to enforce net neutrality.
Neutrality supporters worry that without regulation, there's no guarantee that some traffic would move over the net at all. In other words, neutrality supporters say that only with regulation would internet users be guaranteed access to whatever they want to read, listen to, or watch online, and that without regulation, large telecom companies could block or censor things they don't like without consequence.
This past summer, Congress took up the issue. Following a huge lobbying campaign by both sides, including millions spent by the cable and phone corporations, the House voted down an amendment to the Act that would have made the Federal Communications Commission responsible for enforcing neutrality. In the Senate, a similar amendment was defeated in committee, but net neutrality legislators managed to table a vote on the telecommunications bill indefinitely in hopes that they can somehow force the issue back to the forefront."

Another example of how money can buy the votes of a democratic nation.

No comments: