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General News    H4'ed 3/29/10

Net Neutrality - a 'Marxist Utopia"?

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"Glenn Beck recently stood at his chalkboard to warn Fox News viewers of a sinister plot to shut down free speech. A 'gang of communists' had infiltrated Washington, he raged. Their goal: to pass Net Neutrality and turn the Internet into a 'Marxist utopia.'
"Beck has it backward: Net Neutrality is the Internet principle that protects -- not threatens -- our ability to speak freely in a democracy." These incredible statements lead off a recent newsletter to supporters of the Save the Internet campaign from Timothy Karr who serves as Campaign Director. Karr asserts that phone and cable lobbiests are "flooding the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) with the same lies about Net Neutrality." Net neutrality is the free and unfettered access principle that has made the internet a game changing forum for free speech throughout the world.

The FCC regulates common carriers and the internet. The operators of the nation's large networks (AT&T, Comcast, and others) would like to find a means to generate revenue not just for subscriber services but for the traffic that passes through their infrastructure without paying a toll. Various schemes have been proposed including tiered levels of service that would provide better speed and bandwidth to those who could pay a premium for them. Any of these schemes would favor the rich and the well funded businesses over the ordinary consumer.

"The Internet's founders established open standards to ensure that everyone with a connection could communicate with everyone else online. This basic Net Neutrality principle turned the Internet into an amazing engine for free speech.

"The FCC is considering whether to protect this freedom with a Net Neutrality rule. Without it, companies like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast have a commercial incentive to decide whose voices are more important and whose views will be heard. They've already put in place technology that allows them to filter and block content they deem undesirable," Karr concludes.

To make it easy for individuals to provide comments to the FCC supportive of Internet Neutrality, has established interactive web pages.

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Richmond Shreve is a retired business executive whose careers began in electronics (USN) and broadcasting in the 1960s. Over the years he has maintained a hobby interest in amateur radio, and the audio-visual arts while working in sales and (more...)

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