Monday, October 29, 2007

Net neutrality going mainstream?

On my way to work this morning I did a very rare thing for me -- I listened to the radio. I was listening to the Clark Howard show and he was going off on Comcast, Verizon, and the whole telecommunications monopoly we have in the United States. Clark is a pretty tame sort of guy. He spends most of his time discussing how you can live within your financial means, and how not to get taken by scam artists. So his rant on the telcos and cable companies was interesting, and also quite surprising. He used some strong language to discuss the mess we're in with no competition to speak of, and quickly turned his rant into a discussion of the importance of net neutrality. It was a wonderful moment.

Then I open up my feed reader this morning and CNET brings us this story: Net Neutrality becomes issue in presidential race and the MTV-- 10questions competition. Apparently, Barack Obama will answer the top question in an MTV event today, and the winning question is about the issue of net neutrality. The winning question was by former AT&T engineer Joe Niederberger. His question:

Would you make it a priority in your first year of office to reinstate Net Neutrality as the law of the land? And would you pledge to only appoint FCC commissioners that support open Internet principles like Net Neutrality?

You have to love it. Maybe we can make some progress in getting our current mess fixed. It's not only killing each of us in the pocketbook, it's damaging our overall competitiveness.

6 comments:

Clay Burell said...

Hi Kevin,

What good, substantive posts you write on your blog. Twitter as matchmaker: I came, I saw, I subscribe now.

I'm glad I'm not the only person banging the net neutrality drum (and for all I know there may be many - since I teach and tech coordinate and barely sleep, I don't read my Bloglines like I used to). I'm predicting "Classroom 2.0" will go the way of citizen radio a century ago because most educators don't seem politically engaged enough to fight for this web 2.0 they love so much.

I posted two excellent artifacts here: one is the Four-Eyed Monsters' documentary about net neutrality - fantastic - and the other is a mock "internet subscription" bill by AT&T or what have you that really says it all with a picture.

Look forward to finding the time to read you more.

Clay

Clay Burell said...

(By the way, see the Save the Internet banner you can put in your sidebar to help the campaign. It's on my new site.)

Kevin Gamble said...

Clay,

Thank you for your comments. Very much appreciated!

Thank you for the links!

Kevin

HOTI Dave said...

I work for a group in DC that includes a few ISPs (http://handsoff.org) so I can certainly attest that we're paying attention to this, carefully. I could argue the details of some of the claims against them, but that would get us bogged down in details pretty fast.

What I will say for the moment is that, look, these issues were raised in the media, and corrected without any law or regulation. It's a mistake to think that a regulation being in place will actually stop things, or even provide the proper remedy. Public opinion still matters a lot more.

I understand the instinct to say "there oughta be a law" but in fact if there is a law, independent observers are more likely to let their guard down, while bureaucracy grinds to a halt. Things are working just fine now, actually.

Clay Burell said...

The Hands-Off comment is by a corporate shill, a lobbyist for the Telecomms. Click on his name and it takes you to what LOOKS like a blog, except it doesn't allow one thing all honest blogs do.

It doesn't allow comments.

So the Telecomm lobby pays these sorry souls to surf the internet by keywords, and leave comments muddying the issues after honest blog posts - as we see in the incoherent example above.

I deleted these guys when they did the same thing to my post on Net Neutrality. If they won't let me comment on their blog - and their propagandists, paid by ATT, Verizon, etc, surely - then I'm certainly not allowing them to propagandize on mine.

Sorry for the rant. These folks make me angry for prostituting themselves and betraying democracy in the process.

Kevin Gamble said...

Hehe, I'm kind of honored that he thinks my blog is worthy of spamming. I think I'll leave it.

I always found the anti-net neutrality advertising extremely dishonest. This is more evidence.

If they weren't on the wrong side of this issue they wouldn't have to be spending the kind of money they are trying to influence legislators. If you can't compete on your business model you do so through legislation. It's really quite sad.

I don't need to read anything to convince me that we have a problem. All I have to do is look at what I'm paying for telecommunication services each month, and then look at how few choices I have. It's not like this in the rest of the world. We have to get ourselves out from under these companies. There absolutely is a problem and we do need some laws making sure that the playing field remains level.