As a newcomer to the world of blogging and as a co-worker on the expanding FemBio website I’m especially troubled by news that the internet may soon lose its protected freedom in the USA. Unless Congress votes to incorporate a provision calling for “Net Neutrality” in its upcoming major revision of the Telecommunications Act (COPE), the big phone and cable companies such as AT&T, Verizon, Time Warner and Comcast will be able to dictate which sites on the world-wide web have privileged status and hence, speed in opening and downloading. Thousands of bloggers, news, information and opinion sites such as FemBio, as well as online shopping sites, that don’t/can’t pay large fees to the broadband suppliers could be slowed to a snail’s pace or blocked altogether.
Senator Olympia Snowe, Republican of Maine and a sponsor of strong bi-partisan net neutrality legislation, puts it this way, according to an AP press release:
“Unfortunately, if Congress does not act, the age of digital democracy will come to an end. Innovators with great ideas, but without deep pockets, will be relegated to the Internet’s ‘dirt road.’”
While the Senate will take up the telecommunication legislation later in the month, the House of Representatives may be acting on it this week. House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., and the top Democrat on the panel, John Conyers of Michigan, won important committee approval of their net neutrality bill last month. It requires phone and cable broadband suppliers to give nonaffiliated content producers equal opportunity to reach consumers, and to refrain from interfering with user choice of content. They’re hoping to get a vote when the broader telecommunications bill comes to the House floor.
Meanwhile, of course, the telecommunications giants are lobbying heavily and richly, donating millions to the campaigns of legislators. We can fight back by showing our Representatives and Senators that voters care about this issue. Call your Rep. today! Go to http://www.savetheinternet.com/ to find out more and prevent a huge net loss to all of us.