Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Net neutrality - It's nothing like Switzerland

Note:If you have your own web site, or if you have a blog, you may want to pay attention to this article...

One of the hottest debates that's going on in the U.S. Senate is net neutrality. Net neutrality, in a nutshell, means that all Internet sites must be treated equally.

The issue is that major providers, such as the telephone and cable industries, want to be able to manage their networks as they see fit. One of the things that they want to do is charge more money for users that use more bandwidth, rather than the flat fee for Internet connectivity. The concern that opponents have is the providers will be able to do the following: block content that providers find to be offensive, downgrade the quality of services that competing Internet providers have to offer, and reduce the time it takes for a page to load from a company that doesn't pay the provider as much money.

The "Internet Freedom Preservation Act", a bill introduced in Congress by Senators Olympia Snow (R-ME) and Byron Dorgan (D-ND), basically will make it illegal for Internet providers to "block, interfere with, discriminate against, impair, or degrade" access to content or to prevent users from attaching devices of their choosing to the network. They would also be barred from making special deals with content providers to ensure speedier delivery or improved quality of service;all material would be offered on an equal basis.

Supporters of this bill want to continue to support the freedom of the Internet, while opponents claim that they are not compelled to promote speech they are against, and that the government should not impose rules on the free market.

Who is in support of this bill?

  • IAC/InterActiveCorp

  • Ebay

  • Amazon

  • Yahoo!

  • Earthlink

  • Google

  • Microsoft


  • Christian Coalition

  • AARP

  • Consumer Federation of America

  • American Library Association

  • Free Press

  • Tech Net

  • Celebrities such as Moby and Alyssa Milano

Who is against the bill?

  • Bell

  • Verizon

  • National Black Chamber of Commerce

  • Progress and Freedom Foundation

  • Ludwig von Mises Institute

Where do you stand on this bill? Do you need more information before you can decide? This article talks about the net neutrality debate in more detail.

If you already have a position, be sure to contact your senators and let them know where you stand.

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