Will We Lose Net Neutrality?

I thought Republicans were the party of small government?

I'd like to know how anyone who agrees with the notion of smaller government can consider himself a republican these days. Their party has abandoned them, and they went along with it every step of the way by nodding their noggins like bobblehead dolls so long as the ideas were supported by fellow Republicans.

Clinton shrunk the government.
Bush grew it.
Clinton created a record surplus.
Bush turned that surplus into a record deficit.

Way to go Republicans, eh?

And now, Republicans want to grow the government in order to govern the internet through a system of tiers and taxation.

We all know how the internet works now. If you have a dial-up connection, it's slow - but it's cheap. If you pay for a broadband connection, your service is much faster, but it's more expensive.

Companies that provide internet service want to create a new system that also bases speed and accessibility of the internet on privilege. Microsoft would have the option to pay to keep MSN search going as fast as it is now for the end user (you). If Google doesn't also pay to keep Google search fast for you, then Google's pages would either load much slower, be delayed, or possibly be blocked from you entirely.

Maybe you're thinking "blocked? Come on... that'll never happen."

Here are a few examples of where it already has. [source]

In 2004, North Carolina ISP Madison River blocked their DSL customers from using any rival Web-based phone service.

In 2005, Canada's telephone giant Telus blocked customers from visiting a Web site sympathetic to the Telecommunications Workers Union during a labor dispute.

Shaw, a big Canadian cable TV company, is charging an extra $10 a month to subscribers in order to "enhance" competing Internet telephone services.

In April, Time Warner's AOL blocked all emails that mentioned www.dearaol.com — an advocacy campaign opposing the company's pay-to-send e-mail scheme.

Here's a real-world example, courtesy of Craig Newmark - the Craig from Craigslist: [source]

Let's say you call Joe's Pizza and the first thing you hear is a message saying you'll be connected in a minute or two, but if you want, you can be connected to Pizza Hut right away. That's not fair, right? You called Joe's and want some Joe's pizza. Well, that's how some telecommunications executives want the Internet to operate, with some Web sites easier to access than others. For them, this would be a money-making regime.

The opposing argument, in favor of taxation, is that substantial upgrades are needed to keep internet service reliable as more and more people do more and more with it. This is absolutely true. Isn't that why broadband is more expensive? Funny how NO ONE is even suggesting prices will come down for consumers.

Another quote from the article by Craig Newmark: [source]

"William L. Smith, the chief technology officer for Atlanta-based BellSouth Corp., recently told the Washington Post that BellSouth should, for example, be able to charge Yahoo Inc. for the opportunity to have its search site load faster than that of Google Inc. or vice versa. "If I go to the airport, I can buy a coach standby ticket or a first-class ticket," Smith said. "In the shipping business, I can get two-day air or six-day ground." "

Excuse me? I'm already paying more for faster delivery by buying broadband service. This clown from BellSouth wants me to pay shipping, plus he wants to tax the item shipped. They're not calling it a tax, of course.

* * * HEY, YOU! YES, "YOU" * * *

The people who represent us in congress are OUR representatives. Yours and mine. Let them know where you stand on the internet. We need these representatives to know that we support Net Neutrality. Keep it fair for everyone. And we need them to know there will be repercussions in the next election should they not represent our wishes.

Contact your representatives. No, really. DO IT.

Find Your Representatives HERE!

Tell them you support Net Neutrality.

If you're in downtown Portland, like me, your representatives are as follows:
- Senator Gordon Smith
- Senator Ron Wyden
- Representative David Wu

I called Gordon Smith, and his staffers "weren't aware" of what his position on the issue of Net Neutrality is, so we need to let him know what ours is. I did, and I hope you do as well.
Here's his contact info:

Senator Gordon Smith
Contact Information
Website: http://gsmith.senate.gov/

Capitol Address:
U.S. Senate
404 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 205100001
Ph: (202) 224-3753
Fax: (202) 228-3997

District Address:
One World Trade Center
121 Southwest Salmon Street, Suite 1250
Portland, OR 972042922
Ph: (503) 326-3386
Fax: (503) 326-2900

Next, it's Ron Wyden -- he's major supporter of Net Neutrality, but we need to call him anyway to make sure he understands how important this issue is.

Senator Ron Wyden
Contact Information
Website: http://wyden.senate.gov/

Capitol Address:
U.S. Senate
230 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 205100001
Ph: (202) 224-5244
Fax: (202) 228-2717

District Address:
1220 Southwest 3rd Avenue
Suite 585
Portland, OR 972042802
Ph: (503) 326-7525
Fax: (503) 326-7528

And finally, David Wu -- he supports Net Neutrality, but again, we need to call him anyway to make sure he understands how important this issue is.

Representative David Wu
Contact Information
Website: http://www.house.gov/wu/

Capitol Address:
U.S. House of Representatives
2338 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 205150001
Ph: (202) 225-0855
Fax: (202) 225-9497

District Address:
620 Southwest Main
Suite 606
Portland, OR 972053037
Ph: (503) 326-2901
Fax: (503) 326-5066

::::: | Friday, Mar 30 2007 at 12:53 PM
::::: |


HOTI Dave said:

"Republicans want to grow the government in order to govern the internet through a system of tiers and taxation."

With all due respect, I think you have this backward. I can't speak for Republicans, but I do work with the Hands Off the Internet coalition, and I wouldn't deny that most of our supporters tend to be small-government types that are often Republicans.

There's a good reason: It's the pro-net neutrality side that wants to impose restrictive new laws on how ISPs can use their Internet lines, through the Dorgan-Snowe bill now in the Senate. That bill aims to solve a problem that does not now exist, and would grow government to enforce it.

Moreover, the fast lanes wouldn't be to keep MSN (for example) at the same speed -- but to make it faster. Tiered service (or QoS in networking jargon) would be a new service -- not blackmail, as I think you interpret it.

I'm also not clear on where "taxation" comes into this at all, except again I think you have this backward: Dorgan-Snowe would effectively place price controls on Internet lines, and that would have the same effects of taxation.

Anyway, this post really surprised me, I haven't seen this take before. I'm curious where you got your information.

P.S. Portland rules -- I grew up in SE and try to get back there at least twice a year.

::::: | April 4, 2007 7:34 AM

Me! said:

Where did I get my information? I linked to it above.

Also, just because something has a positive name does not mean it is positive. "Hands Off The Internet" for example, wants to put government hands ON the internet. Today, the internet is fair and free. We need to keep it that way.

Seriously, how can you change the internet to a multi-tiered system without putting hands ON it to do it? Don't you feel a little embarrassed with a name like that?

That's akin to a group of muggers calling themselves the Hands Off Your Wallets Coalition.

One aspect of your name is certainly true. Like the muggers trying to take ones hands off his wallet, republicans want to take the common man's hands off the internet in favor of big business.

::::: | April 4, 2007 8:57 AM

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