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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 2/16/14

We Better Get Net Neutrality Signed into Law Before Media Mergers Kill the Internet as We Know It

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Source: AlterNet

In a world without net-neutrality, internet service providers will be able to "package" websites, a lot like cable providers do with TV channels.

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Comcast, the nation's largest cable television provider, majority owner of NBC and MSNBC, and one of the nation's largest internet service providers, recently announced that it will be buying Time Warner Cable, the nation's second largest cable television provider, for $45 billion.

That's a very big deal, pun intended.

And it has huge implications for the type and amount of content consumers will have access to.

Comcast and Time Warner are two of America's largest internet service providers, providing millions of Americans access to the World Wide Web.

If you factor in Comcast's proposed takeover of Time Warner, with last month's ruling on net neutrality, American consumers could be screwed.

Last month, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the Obama administration's net-neutrality rules.

Those rules were put in place to prevent big internet service providers, like Comcast and Time Warner, from slowing down your access to certain websites or charging for access to websites.

For example, with net-neutrality rules in place, Comcast wouldn't be able to slow down your access or charge more for your access to HBO or CBS or CNN, just because they wanted you to use NBC which they own and operate.

Thanks to the D.C. Circuit Court's ruling and the potential takeover of Time Warner, Comcast is well on its way to being able to discriminate between websites, and to make the owners of competitor websites pay more money to run their websites at higher speeds and to reach millions of American consumers.

And it also means that Comcast can jack up internet costs.

Back in 2009, Reddit user Quink created a graphic, detailing what internet prices might look like without net-neutrality

Since last month's court ruling, the graphic has gone viral, and it does a great job detailing a world without net-neutrality.

The graphic talks about a fictional internet service provider named TELCO.

With TELCO, in this new world we are in now without net-neutrality, they could set it up so you get basic internet service for $29.95 per month -- with a big catch!

The catch is, good luck finding any websites that you can access with that plan.

That's because in a world without net-neutrality, internet service providers will be able to "package" websites, a lot like cable providers do with TV channels.

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Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network, live noon-3 PM ET. His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle (more...)

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