Special interests are deliberately disinforming consumers about the Net Neutrality issue in order to win their support for anti-neutrality legislation. In other words, lies are being employed to ensure the future of telcos to be able to dicriminate via routers - a virtual privatization of the internet. Think of today's watered-down cable news and then imagine a future internet with a whole new wave of telco reconsolidation.
The disinforming voices from the pro-telco HandsOffTheInternet.com are already promoting a "Red State" agenda on the issue. Read this excerpt from their front page:
Pew demonstrates, just “24% of rural Americans have high-speed internet connections,” a double-digit difference from their urban counterparts. If you live in a city or close-in suburb, this may be news to you. But if you’re one of the millions of Americans who does live in a rural area, you’re probably all too aware.
Imagine the day that you go to search on Google.com and you get an automatic re-routing to Yahoo's decidely less desirable search engine - only because Yahoo has paid "free market" prices and Google was "elbowed out" (thanks to Justice department-facilitated pay-offs to big telcos) with all costs passed down to the consumers who search for what they can no longer find! Imagine a day without having access to Google's awesome search ability because it's been purchased by "free market" interests and rolled into one big discriminatory engine, leaving consumers only an internet soaked with a "Big Brother" agenda. Imagine searching for a progressive blog and progressive blogs are no longer included as a priority for search in a non-neutrality internet world.
Without net neutrality, "free market" means "less free choice." Regardless of what the slick pro-telco consultants are telling you now, a look back at telecommunications history with pro-business-at-any-cost Republican attitudes toward the industry should tell you to trust your gut.
Phone and cable companies are looking for the right to charge popular Internet sites like Google and Yahoo to carry data to customers. The big Internet companies, they argue, are getting a free ride, using lots of bandwidth to get to customers and not paying a fair price for it. This will only get worse, they say, as multimedia content becomes more popular, demanding more bandwidth.
This argument is rubbish. Internet companies already are paying for bandwidth from their providers, often the same companies that want to charge them yet again under their new proposals. And for these providers to be screaming for the protection of the free market is sheer hypocrisy--they themselves are creatures of government regulation, basing their business on government-granted extraordinary privileges.
The well-paid mouthpieces for the telcos that you have been recently hearing on the cable news networks and talk radio shows are fighting against real freedom and choice while they lie to you, bold-faced, telling you that they're updating the internet for your free market convenience. A further guarantee of anti-competition within the industry will be ensured if net neutrality disappears, allowing discriminatory routers to stifle small-business entrepreneurial innovation.
We can see which way the wind is blowing. Radio and television has been destroyed for intelligent choice and freedom of speech by the telecommunication industry's incestuous relationship with the federal government. Now they want to dumb down the internet. Fiber updating doesn't have to mean we should risk losing freedom of information, but the legalized elimination of net neutrality will make it so. A few years ago. Anti-neutrality legislation will stifle the voice of conscience in America. It will ensure that the strongest voice and best access to information will be directly in the hands of the richest investors who will monopolize the voice and the access. It is just another form of legalized extortion.
I'm going to be linking a talk radio show (when available) - a virtual David vs. Goliath conversation on Charlotte Talks this morning over the topic of net neutrality [see post by Anonymoses]. The conversation took place between a small-business entrepreneur and a well-rehearsed pro-Telco consultant. The talk radio show host seemed easily led by the consultant with his professionally-crafted talking points, and I believe that the complex nature of the issue will work against those who support neutrality. There's too much corporate money and Republican interest working against the interests of pro-neutrality. Cory Doctorow on "corporate welfare bums":
The Bells and cable companies owe their existence to governmental largesse, and, while they're profit-making private firms, they are, in effect, quasigovernmental organizations. A Bell that wants to get rid of regulation is about as practical as a cotton-candy cone that wants to get rid of sugar. Bells are nothing but a thin veneer of arrogance wrapped around a regulatory monopoly.
The saddest part of all of this is that we proponents of net neutrality know that Thomas Jefferson would disapprove of these oligarchic tactics and undue corporate welfare.