Internet access has always been the ultimate in democracy and freedom of speech and choice. You can use virtually any available application, equipment or service to gain access to almost any content.
Bloggers have access to the same potential audience as the New York Times. Artists of all kinds have equal opportunities to find an audience based on their talent and drive; not on money or privilege. Two students in a dorm room with a good idea, a little ingenuity and some skill can create a multi-billion dollar company.
And it gets better since every internet user is pretty much guaranteed access to any site they want, whenever they want it and at the fastest available speed. It doesn’t matter if you log on to Google or eBooks About Everything, the internet access is equal. In other words, the bandwidth available to me as a small business is exactly the same bandwidth available to a huge corporation.
There are always those who are suspicious of freedom. People who want to control a good thing – for profit, for morality or just because they think they can. So it is not surprising that big telephone and cable companies (AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, Time Warner) have set their sites on controlling access to the internet and its content.
These (and other) big companies lobby the Federal Government every day for control of internet access, speed and content. In essence they want to transform the freeway model of networking to a toll road version. They will magnanimously allow the government to collect part of the toll if they can control who gets to use the fast lanes.
But some of us are fighting back. A large number of internet pioneers. industry leaders, bloggers and ordinary citizens believe the internet was created provide equal access and that the access should remain equal. We actually believe that the world does not need one more thing controlled by Government and/or Big Business! And because freedom of speech is still allowed a movement call Net Neutrality has sprung up.
Net Neutrality simply means that internet access will always be free, fast and available. That innovation, not money or politics, will determine who succeeds in the market place of ideas and technology.
To find out more, you can do a simple Google Search on “Net Neutrality” or a scan of Wikipedia. I promise you that you will get more information than you can absorb in one sitting.
I love the fact that the internet is open, free and somewhat “wild”. I suppose it is the last vestige of my 60’s rebel persona. And as a former rebel, nothing makes me sit up and notice faster then when the government (or anyone else) wants to start controlling something.
As we move into election season protecting our freedoms has become an increasingly important agenda for me. I have a few action items:
• I will only vote for candidates who support Net Neutrality.
• I am stepping up my writing/email campaign to my current representatives to tell them that Net Neutrality is vitally important to economic growth and development
• I have joined Save the Net (http://savethenet.org) and Hands off the Internet (http://handsoff.org)
• I will support these organizations with money and time
Please join me in these doing these four simple things. One of the things I have learned over the years is the awesome power of fingers on keyboards. Enough of them pointed at a single target can change the world. That is democracy in action!