The FCC is on the verge of turning over a large chunk of the public airwaves to the same giant phone and cable companies that control high-speed Internet access for more than 96 percent of American users.
This public "spectrum" could revolutionize the Internet in America. Its wireless signal passes through concrete buildings and over mountains; it can connect tens of million of Americans that are now being ignored by Internet providers like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast.
Don't let the FCC give away our wireless Internet to these price-gouging giants. We need to use these public airwaves to connect more Americans to an open, neutral and affordable Internet.
Broadcast television channels will soon vacate these airwaves when they are required to go digital by 2009. If used right, these public airways will revolutionize the ways we connect to laptops, cell phones, PDAs, music players and other mobile Internet devices. They can deliver an open Internet into your house without the need for a telephone wire or cable modem.
Phone and cable lobbyists are pressuring the FCC to sell companies like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast our airwaves so they can horde spectrum and stifle competitive and cheaper alternatives to their established networks.
This would be a disaster. After years of phone and cable company control over Internet access, the United States has fallen to 16th in the world in high-speed Internet rankings, with few choices and some of the highest prices for the slowest speeds in the world. We will continue this decline as long as we let AT&T, Verizon and Comcast dictate the terms of Internet access for the majority of Americans.
These phone and cable giants refuse to open their networks to competitive applications and services. They lobby Washington to stifle new innovations like Internet phone service and to destroy Net Neutrality, the one principle that protects equal opportunity and free choice on the Web.
We need to end their stranglehold and demand a better Internet for everyone:
With open networks, the rest of the world has rapidly adopted high-speed, Internet platforms for education, economic innovation, creativity and civic participation. Countries like South Korea, Japan, France and Canada have leapfrogged the United States and now offer faster Internet connections at far lower prices.
It's time we caught up.
Act now and help clear the path for a technology that will deliver faster, more open and affordable Internet for everyone.
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