Freedom to Surf the Internet Under Threat From Corporations
We tend to take for granted the easy accessibility, free usage and liberty to surf the Internet at our own discretion. However, what most don't realize is the freedom to browse limitlessly over the Web is in jeopardy.
Currently, the expenses for using the Internet are extremely reasonable. There is an initial set-up cost and then monthly usage fees.
Of course, that's not enough to feed money-hungry phone and media companies, such as AT&T and Verizon, which provide Internet access. These companies want to charge content providers for quicker access to their Web sites. Imagine being charged for every move you made on the Internet, like a pay-per-view version of the Web.
In a sense, this would allow AT&T, Verizon and others to auction off their control of the Web to the highest bidder.
According to Free Press, a media reform advocacy group, small businesses, as well as bloggers, are a few of the voices that will be silenced by these inequitable actions. Corporations will be able to pay incredibly large amounts of money for the fastest service, leaving mom-and-pop operations unable to compete and unfairly silenced.
Additionally, the cost to use the Internet will sky-rocket for consumers and distributers. Here is where "Net neutrality" comes into play. Net neutrality, according to the Web site Save the Internet, is "the nondiscrimination of the Internet content and access."
Net neutrality "protects the consumer's right to use any equipment, content, application or service without interference from the network provider," according to Save the Internet. Without it, network providers such as Comcast and Time Warner Cable will be free to divide up the Internet in favor of the highest paying Web sites. Those Web sites which do not pay the tolls or do not pay enough will be virtually inaccessible.
In 2005, The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a policy statement supporting open networks, yet allowed phone companies to close their DSL lines. By stating their so-called "support" for the free Internet, the FCC has left the Internet defenseless.
Last August, in support of the millions of free Internet users and in an effort to counter act this decision, Representatives Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) presented the Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2009. The bill states that "unfettered access to the Internet… is vital," and that telephone companies are causing an "erosion of these historic policies." The proposal will ensure the free and "level playing field" of the Internet.
This proposed piece of legislation acknowledges the greedy and selfish intentions of larger phone companies, stating they have an "economic interest to discriminate in favor of their own services, content, and applications and against other providers."
SavetheInternet.com also reported that major telephone and media companies are spending millions of dollars to lobby Congress not to pass this Act, hoping for future profits.
Former AT&T CEO Ed Whitacre was quoted in BuisnessWeek saying, "Now what they would like to do is use my pipes free, but I ain't going to let them do that because we have spent this capital and we have to have a return on it. So there's going to have to be some mechanism for these people who use these pipes to pay for the portion they're using. Why should they be allowed to use my pipes?"
Save the Internet takes this statement as an official intent to act against Net neutrality.
Save the Internet, as well as Free Press and Internet for Everyone, are just some of the courageous online support groups teaming up to battle against the phone and Internet companies. Supporters of the Internet Freedom Preservation Act include tech companies such as EBay, Google, Yahoo, Amazon.com, Facebook, and many more.
In order to maintain unrestricted access to the Internet, Net neutrality groups, along with members of Congress who back the Internet Freedom Preservation Act, must be supported. The future of the Internet depends upon it.