Why Are We Still Fighting About Net Neutrality?

Posted by on Aug 4, 2010 in Government, Technology | No Comments

Via a Businessweek article:

Google Inc., AT&T Inc., and Verizon Communications Inc. executives are meeting behind closed doors with U.S. officials in talks that critics say reduce the public’s voice in keeping the Internet open.

The companies sought a compromise, in a rare Saturday session last weekend at the Federal Communications Commission, on rules proposed by Chairman Julius Genachowski to regulate how phone and cable companies handle Web traffic such as Google’s YouTube videos.

“These kinds of meetings where the substance isn’t being revealed go against the chairman’s promise of an open, transparent and inclusive agency,” said Gigi Sohn, president of Public Knowledge, a Washington-based advocacy group, in an interview today.

The companies and senior FCC aides have been holding private meetings since June over the regulations, known as net neutrality rules, according to disclosure statements on the agency’s website. Issues include the extent of FCC power over Internet service providers, and whether phone and cable companies can favor some traffic, such as making their own videos run faster.

The FCC may be negotiating a “secret deal” that would keep Genachowski from fulfilling President Barack Obama’s pledge to back net neutrality, said Josh Silver, president of the Washington-based advocacy group Free Press. The agency may be about to “abdicate its responsibility to protect Internet users,” Silver said in an e-mailed statement.

I mean, I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to understand why giant billion dollar telecom corporations are against it. They’ve found a way to make even more money off a universally loved and relatively affordable service by providing less service. What’s not to love about killing net neutrality for them? More money and more control. A win/win.

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