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John T. Unger

Without Net Neutrality, Would Blogs Even Exist?

John T. Unger April 25, 2006

How would it feel if after all the time you've put in on your blog, it suddenly disappeared from google altogether? And loaded at a crawl if someone actually did know where to find you and wanted to read your posts?

How would you like to pay more money for slower internet?

If that sounds good to you, say, $60 a month for dial-up speed access then DON'T click the link below and sign the petition. If you liked TV better when there were only 2 or 3 channels, DON'T click the link. DON'T sign the petition. If you wish that the only businesses you could shop at were big box stores, DO NOTHING. Because it's easier to ignore stuff and wait for it to go away. A smaller internet will certainly be easier to keep track of. We won't need to worry about googlejuice, technorati rankings or SEO if Congress passes this bill.

On the other hand, if you ever buy from small businesses, like to find new music or video online, sometimes read stories or news from sources other than the networks, or have ever wanted something unusual that you just couldn't find nearby, the Please Do sign this petition letting your member of Congress know you support preserving Network Neutrality.

To be honest, I don't believe in petitions and have lost most faith in our political process, but if this bill is signed into law I could very well go out of business. And so will a lot of the other people and websites that you may currently enjoy. I don't know if we can make a difference, but I would feel foolish for not at least trying.

Several telecom and media companies have decided that they would like you to pay more for the internet than you already do. More importantly, they would like to achieve this in part by auctioning off what you can see online to the highest bidder. For instance, if you go online to buy a fire pit right now, you'll find a link to my Great Bowl O Fire pretty near the top of google. But if AT&T or Time Warner are able to get this bill through congress they'll be able to sell control of search results to companies like Target or Walmart. I'll still be online, but good luck finding me.

These companies are also lobbying for the right to slow access speeds to sites that don't pay them off. So, the high speed internet access that you pay a premium for will only load sites quickly if they are big enough to pay the extortion fee. All the other sites you visit will load as though you'd decided to switch back to dial up modems. Are you okay with that? Because I'm not. Same with news… Do you want all Fox all the time, or would you rather choose which sites you use to find out what's going on in the world?

I've tried really hard to ignore this issue. But the more I learn about it the more I realize that it affects us all. The internet is something that we have recently learned to take for granted, but believe me, if the web becomes as limited as TV was before satellite and cable, we'll all miss the freedom we allowed Congress to take away. The fact that it's all about greed just makes it worse.

Below is a message from Moveon.org with more info and a link to an online petition that will be read before congress when they convene to vote on this bill. Please go sign the petition. It really does matter.

Do you buy books online, use Google, or download to an Ipod? These activities will be hurt if Congress passes a radical law that gives giant corporations more control over the Internet.

Internet providers like AT&T and Verizon are lobbying Congress hard to gut Network Neutrality, the Internet's First Amendment. Net Neutrality prevents AT&T from choosing which websites open most easily for you based on which site pays AT&T more. Amazon.com doesn't have to outbid Barnes & Noble for the right to work more properly on your computer.

Politicians don't think we are paying attention to this issue. Many of them take campaign checks from big telecom companies and are on the verge of selling out to people like AT&T's CEO, who openly says, "The internet can't be free."

The free and open Internet is under seige—can you sign this petition letting your member of Congress know you support preserving Network Neutrality? Click here.

A list of all the ways you might be affected by Net Neutrality is available here.

To learn more, and get involved, you can do several things:

  1. Educate yourself about the issues.  Read Doc Searls article from last year on the topic (this is what first alerted me to the issue, and allowed me to spread the word a bit, most notably to Liz Strauss, who took the ball and ran with it).
  2. Visit the Save the Internet website and blog to learn more, and to send a quick and easy letter to Congress voicing your opposition.
  3. Spread the word.  There’s a huge viral marketing campaign going on right now to spread awareness and galvanize support. Help spread the word with your blog, by email, or come up with a viral video concept. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that if the big telcos and cable companies get their way, grass roots viral marketing will be a thing of the past.

    (list cribbed from Brian Clark at CoppyBlogger. You should be reading his posts on how to write copy. I know because I've seen about 400 articles on the net neutrality issue and his was the one that finally kicked me into gear!)

They WILL win if we are apathetic.  Do something, or find a way to earn a living that doesn’t involve the Internet.

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James Milstid says:

Thanks for the heads-up!

Signed, delivered, and forwarded to my email list...


john t unger says:

Great, James!

I usually try to stay away from politics but this one made me sit up and take note. I really could lose half my business and most of my social network if it goes through. That's just scary.

And then only thing I can think of that's worse than government controlling access to content is big business controlling it. Th epossibilities for abuse stagger the mind!

Lawrence says:

This is a good post about net neutrality.

I've heard that Comcast is one of the companies rallying AGAINST net neutrality and thus, wants to control the content of what one is able to access on the internet.

T1 internet service is the future of broadband communications of internet technology.

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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Without Net Neutrality, Would Blogs Even Exist? :

» "Save the Internet" campaign - prevent tiered access to the Internet from My Name is Kate
I received an email from John Unger today describing the Net Neutrality Bill that is currently being debated in the US Congress Gutting this bill would allow Internet providers to specify which websites would receive priority on their bandwidth. James [Read More]

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