Do you buy books online, use Google, or download to an Ipod? These activities will be hurt if Congress passes a radical law that gives giant corporations more control over the Internet.
Internet providers like AT&T and Verizon are lobbying Congress hard to gut Network Neutrality, the Internet’s First Amendment. Net Neutrality prevents AT&T from choosing which websites open most easily for you based on which site pays AT&T more. Amazon.com doesn’t have to outbid Barnes & Noble for the right to work more properly on your computer. This is the equivalent of a protection racket of money paid so that organized crime leaves your business alone.
Politicians don’t think we are paying attention to this issue. Many of them take campaign checks from big telecom companies and are on the verge of selling out to people like AT&T’s CEO, who openly says, “The internet can’t be free.”
How will you be affected?
- Nonprofits–A charity’s website could open at snail-speed, and online contributions could grind to a halt, if nonprofits can’t pay dominant Internet providers for access to “the fast lane” of Internet service.
- Google users–Another search engine could pay dominant Internet providers like AT&T to guarantee the competing search engine opens faster than Google on your computer.
- Innovators with the “next big idea”–Startups and entrepreneurs will be muscled out of the marketplace by big corporations that pay Internet providers for dominant placing on the Web. The little guy will be left in the “slow lane” with inferior Internet service, unable to compete.
- Ipod listeners–A company like Comcast could slow access to iTunes, steering you to a higher-priced music service that it owned.
- Online purchasers–Companies could pay Internet providers to guarantee their online sales process faster than competitors with lower prices–distorting your choice as a consumer.
- Small businesses and tele-commuters–When Internet companies like AT&T favor their own services, you won’t be able to choose more affordable providers for online video, teleconferencing, Internet phone calls, and software that connects your home computer to your office.
- Parents and retirees–Your choices as a consumer could be controlled by your Internet provider, steering you to their preferred services for online banking, health care information, sending photos, planning vacations, etc.
- Bloggers–Costs will skyrocket to post and share video and audio clips–silencing citizen journalists and putting more power in the hands of a few corporate-owned media outlets.
- Advocacy groups like MoveOn–Political organizing could be slowed by a handful of dominant Internet providers who ask advocacy groups to pay “protection money” for their websites and online features to work correctly.
The free and open Internet is under seige–can you sign this petition letting your member of Congress know you support preserving Network Neutrality? Act Now to Save The Internet