The Open Internet & the Freedom of Speech


U.S. is 28th in the world for internet connectivity speeds. We are the only industrialized nation without a comprehensive internet policy. Finland just declared high speed internet access a legal right.

Please, for the love of this country, keep the internet neutral. Others have articulated the argument far better than I, I just wanted to add my support in favor of a neutral internet.


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  1. Comment

    What Finland did is not a good thing. It puts a burden on the economy and it discourages innovation and creativity in networking. We don't want that kind of fascism in the Internet. We must say NO to net neutrality rules (except for government networking).

  2. Comment

    I disagree wholeheartedly Dar. The more these ISP's have to spend actually improving their infrastructure means the more they have to give other companies, employees and those people who have to enact new physical changes. More infrastructure = more jobs = better economy. When you let the profit motive, and investor return dictate the increase of infrastructure in ISP networks, then you get ZERO expansion. Where there is zero expansion, improvement comes on the back of the customer as the ISP starts to "improve" their services by rationing out what can and cannot be given to their customers. More specifically this rationing will always in a way that benefits the ISP (namely by preventing competing content from being accessed by their customers).

    If the government preventing the Internet Service Providers from doing this is fascism, then I have no idea what you consider actual freedom to be!

  3. Comment

    I was confused what this person meant by "keep the internet neutral".I thought that meant they did not want the government to interfere, so I gave it a thumbs up. I should have given it a thumbs down.

  4. Comment

    Meldaved, I fixed it for you. I was confused at first to, I read your comment so put a thumb down, you can share in that with me.

  5. Comment

    Well, lysacor, if you can run an ISP better than these, why not create one and compete? You would put them out of business with you flat broadband and you would make big bucks in expanding your services.

    Wouldn't that be more honest than using force to harm those companies?

    Why push for Net Neutrality rules when you can simply compete and put them out of business? If governments have barriers to your entering that market, I would support your call to remove them.

  6. Comment

    I put the question to you, what harm does Net Neutrality do to these companies other than restrict them from infringing on our freedom of speech, and freedom of expression.

    I choose not to create an ISP for two reasons.

    One: Creating a new business from scratch is difficult. I understand that, and I respect that they were able to grow to where they are now. And government policies in creating ISP networks are likely tough, but they are that way for a reason. The internet survives because every ISP Peer is required to follow a common set of rules to allow the network to function correctly. If the Peerage agreements, and the various underlying rules and standard setup by the government in conjunction with these ISPs are not met, the you inherently weaken the Internet as it is in the US.

    Two: If I were to create an ISP, I would lose the perspective I have of being a user, and a person who manages networks for a living. Management of a network, does not mean that I have a financial interest in the network's success beyond keeping my job. I have nothing invested in it but time that I am paid for.

    You know the saying "power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely"? Well, let's put it into perspective in regards to Net Neutrality and these companies. We have let these companies run rough-shod for too long and allowed them to restrict access to very legal processes on the internet. Comcast limited peer-to-peer transfers and FTP transfers. Both of which have perfectly valid uses on the internet. There are reports of some ISP's not allowing customers to access websites at all. For example ATT blocked network-wide access to on a whim, to do little more than block a simple DDoS attack that could have been localized by an access list restriction for a short period of time. ISP's are already attempting to ration out data plans for usage of the internet access, you can certainly check this by looking at the local Terms of Service for a given provider. They are already systematically dismantling Internet access in the US in ways that only could benefit themselves to the disadvantage of their customers.

    The reason why Ma Bell was forced to separate was because of monopolistic prescence in every single state of the US. And now that it is separated there is some semblance of competition, except for Internet services. On average only two companies can compete for internet service in a given region, and sometimes it is only one company (no competition because of lack of infrastructure or due to local government guarantees allowing the monopoly to exist in the first place). ATT is already reforming in the way that it had been before it was broken up in the first place. And due to this, competition is growing weaker and weaker in every place where it does business, not because they have a better product, but because their pre-existing contracts, and allowances under existing government rules allow for this to occur. There are truly only two major common carriers now for telecom traffic in the US. Verizon, and ATT. Each of those telecom organizations are taking steps to ensure that competition does not exist, and in some cases actively sue a local government that wants to make competition by creating a competing product, (look for any and every news article in regards to a city trying to create an internet service for it's residents).

    If you want "socialist policies" comparisons with those of European ISP's... the charges for "bandwidth overages" are a good example because it is common practice in Europe and elsewhere in the world to charge for said overages. By the various US ISP's own admission, the only reason they are implementing said changes is to make more money!!! Ok I don't fault them for making money, but doing it off the backs of their users to provide substandard service is obsurd, and needs to be heavily restricted. The only way to do that is through regulation...

    Net Neutrality provides for equal access to all resources of the internet across all common carriers and service providers. The only exceptions to this would be actions that would harm the network (DDoS attacks, intentional destruction of equipment, and other malicious things exacted on the network itself). Because the ISP's were left to their own devices, they are already taking steps to ensure that traffic that originates from "preferred partners" has priority over any other kind of internet traffic coming to their customers.

    Please tell me that the current rules that are in place prevent the ISP's in the US from violating the principles and rules being proposed thus far, and give me concrete facts proving it. Don't just sit back and start quoting theory and trying to instill fear in US citizens who might not understand the nature of the internet, or insult the intelligence of Internet users, administrators, and designers who experience the restrictions that the ISP's are doing to their customers on a daily basis.

    If you have never been restricted by your ISP, it is probably because they agree with where you want to go, but if you use the internet as fully as the rest of the world does, then you would see the shackles that the major ISP's are already putting on the average US citizen.

    If the ISP's are left to do what they want, we will only see the world through a window with a television screen turned to exactly what these providers want us to see. Let's George Orwell's 1984 begin.

  7. Comment

    The lesson of George Orwell's 1984 is clear. It is the government that can get out of control.

    Most of the economic problems we have now is the "printing" of money over the years and high government spending. Much of it is over regulation.

    Where deregulation causes trouble is the _unbalanced_ deregulation, leaving in regulations that cause a distortion of the market, but were partially countered by other harmful regulations.

    It is easy to see with the banking and housing problems that it was regulations that caused the trouble.

    Where we need more regulations are in limiting government agencies and quasi governmental organizations such as the Federal Reserve and Freddie Mac. It was actions of those what have hurt us.

    Regulations are just a vague noise in an attempt to harm others. Our rights and freedoms are protected in the blocking of such things as fraud and breach of contract. Those are already protected.

    Also, regulations tend to favor certain businesses over others, often creating monopolies.

    It is regulations that are the problem, not people out to provide a service that people obviously want.

  8. Comment

    I agree about not letting the government have too much control, but what about not letting businesses have too much control over our lives.

    1984 is an analog not only to government control, but to the current corporate control of the Internet as it is now. Every system is inherently imperfect.

    Points of fact. Businesses are created to do only one thing, make money. Governments, when they are operating correctly in theory, are supposed to serve the people that create them, including protecting their interests, and defending them from all threats foreign and domestic.

    I don't assume that the US government in it's current incarnation is perfect, or doing a great job by any means. But when you say that regulating a company that has the capability of doing wholesale harm to our freedom of speech and expression, is damaging our freedom... whose freedom are you talking about? It certainly isn't about the entirety of the US. For the reasons I mentioned before, we have already gleaned what unchecked monopolistic competition in the telecom and Internet service markets have produced, and it isn't freedom. Preventing the FCC, or any governmental organization from exercising it's duties and crafting these new policies is like throwing the baby out with the bath water. For every single bad thing the FCC might have done, there are a number of good things is has done too.

    Do you want a business to dictate how, when, where, and why you check your email, go to a news site, view a video online, or download a program. Do you want to be charged extra for being able to access "premium locations" on other sections of the internet, where the rest of the world is able to access them without extra charge? Do you want a company to disallow you using an internet-based phone, when it competes with a product that they provide which does not serve your needs? I think not.

    When you complain about the financial industry, and the lack of regulation there, it is a different stanza of the same sad tune. I agree that the Federal Reserve needs to be disbanded, or at least ripped open wide for the light of the day to see. But how will that happen, if it isn't for laws, policy, or rules by the appropriate, law-mandated authorities that are created by our government. You cannot have a functioning government, if the entire government is stuck squabbling about the failures of one party or another, because of past mistakes, and future fears.

    Who is going to keep these ISPs in check... themselves? That is about as laughable as I could think of an idea. There are no other regulatory bodies, national or international, that are in place to control what they do. And if someone were to try to create something that is designed to control it, your arguement would be against it. If a group of citizens were empowered by the country to prevent ISP's and common carriers from discriminating trafffic to it's customers, what would you call that? A council? A enforcement group? Ah wait no, an ISP regulatory body! And in the US, who have the citizens empowered to create such a regulatory body? The FCC!

    We have to play by the cards we are dealt with now. If you want to change government, I am all for it, but allowing ISPs to be left to their own devices in regards to management of internet resources is tantamount to anarchy in my book. There are no other commonly recoginzed regulatory bodies that are empowered by the citizens of the United States of America to prevent major companies from destroying our rights online. Right now only the FCC has that authority, and the Net Neutrality rules are the lesser of the two evils we face at this moment in regards to internet regulation.

  9. Comment


    If you are adverse to monopolies how could you believe in the polices of the worst of all monopolies, the “coercive monopoly”. AT&T can not force you to buy their product, so if you don’t like what they are blocking you from on the internet you can buy a different service. That’s called capitalism and that self regulates through free competition. Oh and name one good thing that the FCC ever did? And keep it short, your to wordy.

  10. Comment

    I agree, yet disagree with the comment about ATT not being able to force you to buy their product.

    If your family requires high-speed internet access like DSL, there are some areas of the US where DSL may be the only service available. if DSL is the only service available, and ATT is the ILEC, with the current laws, ATT must allow access to competitors if there are certain conditions met (as I understand it, I am not an expert in ILEC/CLEC regulations). In some areas, there are no viable competing providers due to cost, problems with obtaining service due to excessive red-tape (personal experience), or lack of agreements with competing providers.

    Not counting wireless access providers, and satellite ISP's, cable providers MIGHT be the only other way to get service, and those may not be viable solutions based on the requirements of the household, or business attempting to subscribe to services.

    Verizon and ATT are now offering their Fiber internet services, but based on information from user experiences at and other ISP troubleshooting related websites, if you elect to use these new services, then you are fully locked into using them, you cannot go back to a standard phone line (this is outside of the scope of the network neutrality debate, but I included it for contrast to my arguement).

    If you are forced to move from one broadband media type to another, and they all share the same kind of "network management" what then?

    The free market moves too slowly in respect to internet service providers due to the lack of competition currently in place. No one can compete when the major telecom companies own all of the lines, and control the prices to access their respective networks exclusively, creating a higher price tag to the customer.

    Instead of me telling you what good the FCC has done, why not get that information yourself at

    And in response to my comments being too wordy, I would prefer to respond thoroughly, and leave no doubt to my opinion, and include all experiences, facts and opinions. I respect your ability and method to communicate your opinions and differing views, I would ask that you respect mine.

  11. Comment

    Generally families don’t require high speed internet access, it’s not a staple or a right. What your talking about is a matter of convenience. If it’s an issue of major importance to a family or a company, there are other options including moving. Most smart people don’t live in the middle of the desert is they want a convenient source of water. I’m no expert on ILEC/CLEC regulations either and I doubt many people are . . . because it’s a government quagmire!

    Free markets move at a self-regulating pace, if you think it’s to slow and you have government intervene, it’s no longer a free market. I think I’ll pass on your suggestion to go to the FCC’s site to find out what good the FCC has done, I hope you can see the conflict.

    Sorry about the wordy comment, although you are, your point is taken and I do respect your right to do so.

  12. Comment

    i would to revise my vote to thumbs down

  13. Comment

    What Finland and some of the countries in Asia are doing is the right thing (no offense to Dar but Dar is spreading FUD) -- as we abandoned our pro competitive regulations during the Bush Cheney years and the national broadband plan in place before he entered office we dropped from 4th place in the world in terms of broadband Internet access to 28th just as northrup.mike clearly stated. This is a fact. Today the amrket is duopolized -- crony capitalists closed the market -- deregulation allows business and financial monopolists to run wild with mega mergers to reduce competition and end consumer choice.

    We had a national broadband plan before -- a new one is being worked on again -- with a goal to make broadband Internet access affordable and accessible to all Americans rich or poor, urban or rural. Broadband Internet is a right its a public utility. We should not let it become a cash cow just for a few. As long as we have Net Neutrality it remains a vibrant town square for all of us the minute we lose Net Neutrality the Internet just becomes a closed system like cable TV or radio of today.

    Here's my take by the way on why we need Net Neutrality:

    Net Neutrality is the cornerstone of innovation, free speech and democracy on the Internet. We need open access to the Web to inspire positive change. With the recent MLK day now behind us I thought I'd share with you that some of us reflected on that day of the progress MLK helped bring when he led the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s to end segregation in America. We should not allow ISPs to segregate the Web in the same way the country was segregated. We need to empower independent voices in the media and on the Internet. We need more participation with more diverse voices on the radio dial, TV and the Internet.

    After all the Web empowers and inspires creativity as long as it stays neutral -- don't allow ISPs to destroy the single most important and wonderful thing about the Web.

  14. Comment

    I agree northrup.mike. In fact I'll provide a better argument for why indeed we need Net Neutrality -- we both care about the issue and are concerned that the future of the Internet should remain open so we support Net Neutrality. Trolls, corporate folk, and right wing nuts ignore history -- ignore the fact we already have Net Neutrality or have had it in the past and are fighting to preserve it and say no to new government regulation -- as if it doesn't already exist but government is trying to create new regulation where there was none.

    By the way under telecommunications laws Net Neutrality is perfectly legit and it is the moral thing to do. Even with the recent tragic decision by The U.S. Supreme Court on Citizen's United which undid democracy (despite it emboldening big cable and phone company ISPs to suggest Net Neutrality violates their free speech which is bogus -- by the way as the Internet is more interactive than radio or TV ever were -- it encourages participation, dissent, and democracy.) The Open Internet encourages free speech on the part of users. We just pay a monthly fee for access and have unlimited equal access to all Internet websites but big ISPs want to be able to change all of that. They dislike the idea of being forced to deliver every email message even messages by consumer rights groups criticizing them etc. The Open Internet threatens their legacy business model where in the past they would co-op and monetize technologies for corporate gain at the expense of the public interest.

    Big ISPs like Comcast want to be able to censor what we write in our emails and publish to the Web. Let's say I write an email about Comcast criticizing them for anti competitive, and anti consumer policies and I happen to be using Comcast's email service to send the message. Comcast wants to be able to reject my message because they think its unfair for them to be forced to deliver a message criticizing them.

    When the U.S. Postal Service delivers letters every day to mailboxes they cannot filter out and decide which letters to deliver and which not to. If I want to send a letter to someone they cannot refuse to deliver my letter because they don't like what I have to say. They don't have a free speech right to do such a thing. If the Post Office cannot prioritize and discriminate against what mail is delivered ISPs cannot either.

    The Information Superhighway analogy comparing Internet to our national highways run by the federal and state governments most of which are free of toll booths is also a good one and represents the need for why we need to maintain Net Neutrality. While I admit I am concerned with language that would mandate ISPs to act as copyright cops and police the Net to ensure it is only being legally used -- only legal uses should be protected but don't want an unnecessary and vague exemption for Hollywood etc. Net Neutrality should apply to Hollywood as well and if someone is misusing Internet before discriminating against that user and taking action proof should and must be furnished this is indeed the case -- the mere allegation of illegal activites should not be sufficient cause to discriminate.

    That is why I signed the Electronic Frontier Foundation's petition to the FCC for Real Net Neutrality!

  15. Comment

    In response to another Commenter to northrup.mike, this is not about "keeping the ISP's from getting too powerful."

    Contrary to popular belief, the Internet does not have infinite bandwidth. We have slower service than other countries because we have many more times the users. Also, thanks to innovative companies, we have many high-traffic services that currently are ahead of the bandwidth of the existing system. Believe me, without any restrictions or new laws, ISP's will increase the bandwidth because they want the additional revenue.

    It all depends on how these rules are used, whether they protect free speech or are used for other reasons. For example, this website is filled with comments which suggest that these rules would be used to end discrimination in terms of broadband access... that the government would force providers to increase bandwidth in under-served areas. The free market already forces providers to do so. Where there's money to be made, businesses invest. Or, do those who support Net Neutrality think that providers should be forced to put in additional bandwidth into areas that don't generate revenue? Does this mean that scarce taxpayer dollars will go to provide another entitlement to citizens? Or does it mean that the government will force providers to invest their own money into areas that will not generate enough revenue to pay for equipment. Either way you look at it, it's redistribution of wealth. Either taxpayer money going to provide service to under-served areas or the premiums paid by well-served areas going to pay for under-served areas. Taken to an extreme, the government could even force providers to become insolvent (and require government rescue because "The Internet is Too Big to Fail").

    Do you see how these two "harmless" additions to the FCC's charter could be used to harm our freedoms?

    I say we need LESS government intervention and the Internet is best without government meddling.

  16. Comment

    lyascor has it right would like to suggest another reason why it would be unlikely for him or anyone else to start a new ISP business -- to those saying start your own Internet service (then you'll have freedom to use it as you please when you own the service) in today's anti competitive, monopolistic broadband business the incumbent duopoly big cable and phone companies have engaged in anti competitive tactics to stop newcomers from emerging in the market for high speed Internet access. Qwest for example, has prevented smaller providers from accessing the utility poles they need access to to provide Internet access to customers.

    In Louisiana the towns of Wilson and Lafayette decided to establish their own fiber networks (Wilson is offering 100 MBPS connections. Time Warner Cable's Road Runner was available in that area but only offering 14 MBPS) and with their rate hikes its likely not everyone there could afford access to their service. A primary reason for the digital divide is a lack of deployment in rural areas -- incumbents don't want to wire some communities currently unserved because of the expense of doing so -- in a more competitive market though there would be higher incentive to do network builds etc. The incumbents only do network builds when they are in a position where they have to do so.

    For anyone not understanding what MBPS means its Megabits per second. Now what did Time Warner Cable do when Lafayette decided to establish its own fiber network for broadband access: Time Warner sued the city saying they did not have the right to establish their own broadband service and compete with Time Warner.

    Here's the news report I am referring to:

    After several years of lawsuits and four million dollars spent, the city of Lafayette in Louisiana has successfully provided broadband connectivity for its residential citizens through a public fibre network.

    Currently, Lafayette boasts one of the largest and most successful fibre deployments in the U.S with its residents picking up a 50Mbps symmetrical connection for only $57.95 a month. The city’s prices are lower than prices from telecommunication companies by a 20 percent difference.

    The city won the fibre network battle after numerous lawsuits from local telephone companies and cable operators, and even from a couple local citizens who brought their case to the Supreme Court.

    A growing trend in community-owned fibre networks is evident through similar instances in North Carolina and in Monticello, Minnesota. A local North Carolina paper wrote about the issues Time Warner places on its Wilson customers:

    "[The town of] Wilson says it has the fastest residential Internet speed in the state—100 megabits per second. Time Warner's residential customers there make do with 15 megabits per second... If Time Warner had been offering 100 megabit-per-second Internet speeds in the first place, Wilson might not have felt a need to go into the business," wrote The Fayetteville Observer.

    Here;s a link to the article -- found it on a website dedicated to protecting Net Neutrality in Canada. The news concerns the U.S. state of Louisiana though.