Preserving The Open Internet

With the way the Internet is structured right now, it is just as easy for Americans to visit a tiny website about knitting run by a young mother in Ohio as it is to visit a site run by the federal government or a major corporation. This feature is part of the reason that in 1999, John Chambers, president and CEO of networking giant Cisco, called the Internet the great "equalizer between people, companies, and countries." But powerful interests in the telecom and cable industries, along with their conservative allies on Capitol Hill and in the media, are trying to create a pay-for-play system where companies able to shell out large amounts of money would have the power to make their sites run faster. If they succeed, they will change the lives of 40 million Americans who use the Internet as their primary source of news and information. (Here's what that could look like.) Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist, has explained what would happen if U.S. communications served the interests of broadband providers, rather than the public: "Imagine if you tried to order a pizza and the phone company said AT&T's preferred pizza vendor is Domino's. Press one to connect to Domino's now. If you would still like to order from your neighborhood pizzeria, please hold for three minutes while Domino's guaranteed orders are placed." The solution to preserving the openness of the Internet is net neutrality, supported by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), prominent federal lawmakers, consumer groups, and the "geeks" who helped build the Internet. The coalition has even attracted unlikely allies such as the Christian Coalition and Gun Owners of America. But Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is trying to help telecoms and the cable industry make their destructive dream a reality. He recently introduced the inaptly-named "Internet Freedom Act," arguing that rules preserving net neutrality would be a "government takeover of the Internet." Join the tens of thousands of people who have spoken out in favor of a free and open Internet by taking action here.

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Tags: Internet

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