Sign the Net Neutrality petition now!

Yesterday Sen. Maria Cantwell co-sponsored an amendment in the Senate Commerce Committee to add language to the new Telecommunications Act that would preserve Net Neutrality. The amendment failed. So Sen. Cantwell voted against passing the bill out of committee. Again, she was on the losing side.

Now Sen. Cantwell is asking you to sign a petition urging the full Senate not to pass any version of the Telecommunications Act that does not protect the principle of nondiscrimination on the Internet.

Net neutrality is a simple concept – it has enabled equal access to the Internet to spread ideas, develop commerce, and build movements online without financial discrimination from the companies controlling the Internet.

But now special interests are asking Congress to end the openness and freedom that built the Internet. Large telecommunication companies want to create a two-tiered Internet, divided between those who will pay top dollar to guarantee their online content gets priority over those who can’t pay.

I am committed to vote against any telecommunications bill that did not include a provision or amendment to ensure the continuation of net neutrality. Yesterday I did just that. But the fight isn’t over – and I need you to decide which side of this issue you are on.

Imagine an Internet where broadband monopolies can pick and choose which content and services their customers may access. Imagine an Internet where Qwest and Comcast have the right to deny their customers access to a blog that criticizes Qwest and Comcast.

This version of the Internet is about to be debated on the floor of the Senate. Sign the petition now.

Comments

  1. 1

    rhp6033 spews:

    So, Goldy, is host.com participating in a denial of service attack against you? Could it be that it has something to do with the subject of the discussion today?

    As for JSA @ 49: Reminds me of a story an acquaintance told me years ago. He worked for the phone company when it was really “Ma Bell” in the late 1960′s and early 1970′s – AT&T before the split-up. It seems part of his job was to go to one spot in rural Utah and explain to the handfull of families there why AT&T couldn’t run more lines out to them. It seems that even around 1970, about twelve families all were sharing one party line, and they were pretty upset about it. Now the real reason for this situation was that AT&T didn’t see any way it could profit from running upgraded line a hundred miles into the high desert just to serve what at the time was only twelve phones. But he couldn’t admit that, because if he did the state utilities commissions would be all over them for not providing adequate service to their entire area. So he had to give an annual “song and dance routine” about how improved service was coming, they just had to wait a little longer.

    But the problem for the customers wasn’t just that there were only about twelve families, and twelve phones. The problem was that this was a “traditional” Morman community, and each household had an average of five wives, and quite a few children. So it was bad enough that each household of about 20 or so people had to share only one telephone, but then multiply it by twelve households sharing only one line, with each being able to listen onto the conversations of the others, and you can understand why this was such a difficult task for this fellow.

  2. 2

    sgmmac spews:

    Michael,

    I use a high speed Comcast connection and MSN is my mail and explorer………….

  3. 4

    americafirst spews:

    It is disappointing that conservatives don’t seem too interested in net neutrality yet. But I wonder about what Cantwell’s bill actually said in the fine print. Is there a link to it?

  4. 5

    Libertarian spews:

    I think I agree with you on this one, Goldy. If I understand it correctly, companies like Comcast want to start charging for something that has heretofore been free. That’s not a good way to run a business, trying to charge for something that has been free. Of course, I may have it all wrong, but I think I’m gonna go with Goldy on this one.

  5. 6

    LeftTurn spews:

    Signed but don’t think it will do much good. The GOP gets a bunch of money from the cable companies.

  6. 7

    Goldy spews:

    Libertarian,

    Let’s be clear here. I pay for my DSL broadband. I could pay more to get higher speed access, or I could pay less and get lower speed access.

    Likewise, Google, Yahoo, even Daily Kos pay for their access to the backbone… the more bandwidth they consume, the more they pay.

    What companies like Qwest and Comcast want to do is charge a premium to companies like Google and Yahoo (or even Daily Kos) to maintain equal access to end-user consumers like me. It’s not about Qwest providing tiered service for its broadband consumer or backbone customers… it’s about it charging non-customers for tiered access to its own installed base. That’s abuse of monopoly.

    Here’s a real world example of what’s going to happen. I subscribe to Vonage for one of my phone lines. The sound quality isn’t great, but it’s acceptable. Most of all, it’s damn cheap… $15/month for 500 minutes anywhere in the US. What do I use it for? Mostly for calling “local long distance” within WA state, which is hugely expensive. That’s money I’m not paying Qwest. So what Qwest is going to do is require that Vonage pay for a so-called “QoS” tier (Quality of Service) or else have its bandwidth to Qwest customers knocked down to the point of the service being useless.

    VOIP is THE way most voice calls will eventually be delivered (it’s the most efficient way to build such a network)… that is, unless the telecom companies are allowed to use their existing monopolies to kill this innovative industry.

    That’s what Net Neutrality is really all about.

  7. 8

    My Left Foot spews:

    This is dangerous people. It touches on free speech. It creates a system where the haves can rub out the have nots. It will deter advancement (who will want create a website or business that is at the mercy of a telecommunications company’s whims and desires?)

    This is BAD BAD BAD`!

    Carl Grossman
    Liberal and Proud and voting the Democratic ticket right down the line.

  8. 9

    My Left Foot spews:

    Sorry off topic, but “FUCK YOU, Ann Coulter. To paraphrase your infamous quote, “My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is that you were not the only person in the building”. You fucking bitch!

    Sorry, she really pisses me off.

    Carl Grossman
    Liberal and Hater of A. Coulter

  9. 10

    rhp6033 spews:

    I signed the petition, but I’m skeptical it will have any effect.

    My own take on this, is that it’s another corporate grab of a public resource: the internet.

    Our tax dollars supported the initial research and development of the internet, which was opened to the public in the 1990′s. Then independent ISPs (AOL, Yahoo, etc.) using dial-up networks made the internet into a huge marketplace.

    But now the cable and phone companies selling DSL lines have a strong advantage over the independent ISPs in providing high-speed service directly to the consumers. This is great because it speeds up the internet, right? No problem there.

    They don’t have an exclusive monopoly over all forms of internet access, but they have a public-utility monopoly over their particular brand of service (i.e., cable or DSL). They can compete with each other in the same geographic region, but others cannot compete with them for the saqe type of service.

    But now they want to take advantage of that situation to put the independent ISPs out of business. What will start as a “tiered” system will soon (within a year or so) put the ISPs out of business. So your only choice will be between your cable company and your phone company for internet service.

    Comcast is using its positino to advertise (on its own channels) that the independent ISP’s are trying to “block high-speed improvements” and are trying to ride on the back of cable’s investment. What a load of crock. What Comcast is really did is wait for someone else to invest the money and risk in developing an entirely new industry and market, and then get Congress to give them the market for free. Typical Republican cash-grab of a public asset – the internet.

    They made fun of Gore for taking some of the credit for building the internet. He did a damn site more for the internet than any Republican I know of. But if this goes through, the Republicans can take credit for destroying it.

    By the way, how would you like the availablity of your site to be “prioritized” based upon whether or not the utility agrees with your site’s content? Have a complaint against Comcast on your site, and then find that nobody with Comcast internet access can see it without waiting for days for it to download?

  10. 12

    Kyle Broflovski spews:

    The cable folks are not the ones pushing “reform” of the Telecom Act…it’s the phone companies that primarily that want to offer cable/tv services without much (if any) regulation…net neutrality is a side bar (but important) part of the debate. Certainly, the cable guys don’t want to see a strong net neutrality bill, but they’d rather not see anything passed, period.

    This whole push to reform the telecom act should be shelved, but for some unknown reason, Democrats (especially in the House) have been more than willing to go along with the Republicans for this multi-billion dollar giveaway to the phone companies.

  11. 13

    REP Pat Kennedy [D-Bitchslap the Black Security Guard At LAX] spews:

    Democrat KATRINA LOOTERS GET 15 YEARS

    Today we highlight a ruling by Judge Hans Lijeberg from the 24th Judicial District Court in Louisiana. He sentenced three Democrats convicted of post-Katrina looting…to 15 years in the slammer. And what were these people looting? 27 bottles of liquor and wine, six cases of beer and one case of wine coolers. 15 years is the maximum for looting during a state of emergency.

    So that was the law and the judge enforced it. But the attorneys are already whining…calling the sentence excessive. Oh my! The poor Democrat “progressive” looters! They’re being punished! The anti-looting law, which took effect 2 weeks before Katrina hit, provides for the 15-year penalty. Why should the judge have shown leniency? Were these starving people stealing loaves of bread and gallons of milk from a grocery store? Nope…beer, wine and liquor…not exactly in any of the four food groups. I guess they just couldn’t find a flat-screen TV anywhere. Probably all gone.

    It’s about time somebody threw the book at these losers who think a tragedy is time to go shopping with a five finger discount. And one more thing…the news story doesn’t mention the race of those involved, but how long before we hear accusations of racism? Jesse Jackson is no doubt warming up his rent-a-mob just in case. The big question: Will these fine Democrats still vote in November?

  12. 14

    Libertarian spews:

    Pat @ 9

    There are big discrepancies between sentences handed-down for the same offenses in different parts of the country. Fifteen years sounds “normal” for a place like Louisianna, but it would probably be probation in many other states.

    A guy in Ohio got 15 years for having sex with two student in the school where he taught, but a woman in Florida got a very light sentence for screwing one of her students – just another example of the inconsistency in the system.

  13. 16

    Yer Killin Me spews:

    Last I heard Ron Wyden was placing a hold on the bill until he got the net neutrality language he wanted added. Since Frist doesn’t by his own count have enough votes to end a filibuster, this means the bill is stuck for the time being.

    Good news, but keep the pressure on.

  14. 17

    Michael spews:

    It only makes sense that there be multiple tiers for network traffic. For example, packets carrying my Slingbox Fox News broadcast should have much higher priority than my HA text-based traffic which already streams much faster than I can read it.

  15. 18

    ArtFart spews:

    NOW WAIT A MINUTE….

    Not that I expect anyone to read this far down this thread, now that the nutbags have started demonstrating how fast they can hit “control-V” but…

    In actuality, the physical net has NEVER been neutral. There’s a big fat precedent that was set long ago by the big hosting companies like Exodus who offered “peering”, where they ran their own private networks to connect into the backbone in major cities, bypassing the typical choke points (at least a few years ago) like mae-west. They essentially built their own “private backbone” and boy, you’d better bet they charged their customers plenty for the use of it.

    As to the issue of VOIP, it’s basically a dumb idea, and the telcos have a point hollering about someone using their networks to carry voice traffic masquerading as “data”, and charging less than they can for using their lines directly. As to the supposed “difference” between the phone and cable companies, it really doesn’t matter much, because with all the interlocking ownership, who’s who only makes any difference for the “last mile” to the individual subscribers.

    I hae a feeling that however this works out, we’re all going to end up paying more, being delivered something inferior, and being told we’re supposed to like it.

  16. 20

    jsa on commercial drive spews:

    ArtFart,

    The world needs artists, and the world needs technical thugs.

    I usually have enough sense not to comment on art, except to my wife.

    First, peering is a tarriff arrangement, not a tiered service arragement.

    Here’s an example.

    I (Jeremy Anderson, neighborhood network geek), get a leased line put into my house. Like most people, a lot more goes down my line (to me) than goes up it (to other folks on the net).

    I pay my ISP for that line.

    To defray the cost of that line, I share the cost with my neighbors.

    One of my neighbors sets up a cool Internet portal in his garage.

    Suddenly, people out on the net have something they want on the other end of my line.

    So I talk with my ISP and say “Well, if we look at this here chart, a bunch of my neighbors are using your bandwidth, and a bunch of your customers are using my bandwidth. So, we can do one of two things: Either we can send each other a bill for each other’s use of the other’s network every month, or as long as the traffic is more-or-less equal, I’ll let you use my network and you’ll let me use yours. Fair?”

    That’s peering in a nutshell.

    Now, the so-called two-tiered Internet is a slightly different animal.

    ISPs (cable providers are an egregious example, but DSL providers follow largely the same rules) have had an issue for years.

    It costs a lot to build a network. It costs a lot to build up a customer base. Once the network is built, and the customers are captive, they are more or less pure profit as long as they are running around inside the network the ISP built.

    Once they go out to other networks, they start costing money.

    So the holy grail of ISPs is to try to keep customers on their network as much as possible. They do this by trying to either be content providers in their own right or to contract with other content providers to put stuff on their network.

    This hasn’t worked out very well. The reasons why are numerous and complex. If you have a few hours I can try to explain it, but it tends to make people’s eyes glass over.

    So, since the first model failed, they’re trying to force money out of content providers by creating tiered access. Thus, popular sites can be hit up for extra money in order to get access to eyeballs.

    I am fairly sanguine about this, but that’s because I think the content providers (i.e. Google, Amazon, eBay, etc.) are in a better position than the ISPs. Most people don’t give a flip who gives them Internet access. If they get cut off from a site they really like because their ISP and a content provider got into a pissing match, they’ll have that ISPs competitors on speed-dial pretty quickly.

  17. 21

    ArtFart spews:

    I’ll happily respond to jas’s posting above if Goldy will be kind enough to delete all the crap posted by Commander Gibberish from host.com.

  18. 23

    sgmmac spews:

    JSA,

    There is only one cable provider, so how can you switch?
    I live in Lacey and we have Comcast and they suck!

  19. 24

    Michael spews:

    I switched from Tacoma Click to Comcast and I couldn’t be happier. It does cost a little more, but I get much more bandwidth, and I don’t have to worry about my internet service crashing on Friday evening and having to wait until Monday morning for someone on the other end to reset me.

  20. 25

    jsa on commercial drive spews:

    sgmmac,

    Don’t get me started on the US telecom infrastructure.

    Back when Beacon Hill was a third-world country, I remember having some truly surreal discussions with QWest as to why it was that I lived 2 blocks from Amazon, and they couldn’t provide me with DSL.

    Cable providers pretty much all have monopolies. I think this sucks, since my Seattle house is served by Yet Another Monopoly Cable Provider, and I don’t like them very much. Your telco may or may not think your neighborhood is cool enough to get ADSL. (This is another long discussion).

    You usually have a few different ways to get broadband. Cable, ADSL, and sat can all be ordered by householders with no network expertise. If you are out in the boonies, you can order dry lines from your telco, or do bad and wrong things with 802.11 and “pringles cans” (directional parabolic antennas), but you have to be a bit of a gearhead to do this, or know someone who is.

    I could be snarky and say “fuck living out on the farm. Move to the city where you don’t have this problem.”, but that’s not me.

    If your cable company is giving you no love, you may have to come to a proper cooperative rural solution to this problem. If you can get 20 people within a mile of your house to agree that Comcast sucks, you can kick them to the curb forever. You can essentially set up your own little ISP and go from there.

    It’s work, but that’s the backbone of the rural ethic, right? If you wanted life to be easy, you’d live in a big city (or two), like I do. Get to it!

  21. 26

    sgmmac spews:

    Well, Comcast deserves to be kicked. I kicked them from my house for cable TV and went to DirectTV – which I love. I am a big NY Yankee fan and DirectTV has MLB Extra Innings and the YES TV – a NY regional station owned by the owner of the Yankees. I tried to get it on Comcast and after they jerked me around and told me I could get it, several days later and many phone calls resulted in them telling me I had to wait another year, so I cancelled the cable for TV and went with the Dish, because they lied to me and told me that they had the YES Network, they didn’t and they only broadcast one or two Yankee games a week and as soon as my year was up, I dumped them for DirectTV.

    I have the most expensive and extensive package that they have and there are still stations that I don’t get and it aggravates me. They have a new station called BabyFirstTV that is wonderful and of course after my grandbaby was hooked on it, they stopped playing it, saying that it was a preview and if I want it, I can pay 9.99 a month for 1 station.

    So, I am paying almost 150 bucks a month just for TV, I pay MSN over 20 for dialup – I don’t use, and Comcast runs the high speed which has been flakey lately.