Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Bye Bye Network Neutrality

Some of you may have heard about the COPE Act (HR 5252). For those of you who have not the COPE Act is a major overhaul to the Telecommunications Act that is working its way through Congress. A problem with this modification is the weakening of network neutrality, which guarantees a free and open Internet. Net neutrality is the principle that you should be able access whatever content or services without interference from your ISP. The COPE Act is changing net neutrality by making it impossible to create laws preventing obstacles to access of information on the Internet. The COPE Act could allow for a multi-tiered Internet creating a 'fast-lane' and 'slow-lane' on the internet, where for a fee websites and services can run at high speeds unobstructed and others would be stuck in the 'slow-lane'. This plan has been announced by Comcast and Verizon. The problems with a multi-tiered internet are political organizations and non-profits groups could have a harder time starting up due to the fact of an added fee to get unobstructed access on the Internet. This would also make it harder for individuals like us to post and write our own blogs.

With the current version of net neutrality problems have occurred with lower quality of service and censorship. For example in 1994 Madison River ISP blocked their users from using rival companies web-based phone services. Also in Canada, Shaw intentionally downgraded quality and reliability of rivals Internet phone services. In 2005 Telus, a Canadian telephone giant, blocked customers from visiting a site favoring the Telecommunications Workers Union during a strike. Also AOL blocked all emails mentioning dearaol.com, a campaign against AOL's pay-to-send email scheme. So even with the current form of net neutrality problems arise so why should we weaken it and allow more problems to occur.

There will be a day of action in Chicago, Boston, New York and more on Wed. May 24. The location for the protest will be outside of the AT&T /SBC Building at the intersection of Congress Parkway and S. Federal St. at 4:00 pm. If you feel that the Internet should be free and open please let show your support by signing the petitions or coming out to the day of action.


1 comment:

Alex Rakoczy said...

These companies say that they won't do anything to change the internet, but then why do they fight net-neutrality so much?