The Open Internet & Innovation

Restore Net Neutrality protections and extend them to wireless

Net Neutrality is essential -- by the way we've had Net Neutrality before - it is the principle of an open democratic Internet where anyone can go online and connect freely with others (it is a principle to prevent ISPs from blocking online access to certain services) we had Net Neutrality prior to 2005 when the Bush FCC made the error of stripping the Internet of this basic protection for the Internet. Net Neutrality makes sure you can connect to everyone else on the Internet -- now the Obama FCC is making the right choice in restoring this principle to protect this openness. In fact, their taking Net Neutrality a step further than it previously existed making it apply to wireless networks and wireless devices. As it should be when you on the web whether through wireline or wireless connections we should have the same openness on the Internet.

 

We face a challenge from ISPs though that want to preserve and extend their legacy of closed/proprietary technology systems like cable TV to the Internet -- thanks to the Internet's openness we have been able to reclaim the media for the public. Whether Republican or Democrat all Americans should support a democratic open Internet. This is not about govt control of Internet but preventing corporations from slowing down or blocking our Internet.

 

An open Internet is a great town square for the public where free speech is safe a closed Internet without Net Neutrality where big cable and phone companies restrict what we can do online could censor free speech. Big ISPs decide what's on, how much it costs, and how fast it downloads. That is not the type of Internet I signed up for or want. I want equal Internet -- everyone should have equal access to the Internet.

 

Today Internet can be used for watching television, placing phone calls (think Skype, and Vonage), reading news and information, communicating via email and instant messaging all freely. Without Net Neutrality cable companies would like to stop their Internet customers from downloading video off the web from even legal competing services like Apple's iTunes Store or accessing YouTube etc. Cable companies may privilege their own TV service offerings over rival online offerings. Instead of improving their infrastructure, expanding bandwidth, and speeding up our connections they want to slowdown our connections and restrict our Internet usage.

 

We have always had Net Neutrality -- the debate to save it or kill it started after the Bush FCC in 2005 made the regrettable mistake of gutting Net Neutrality protections that existed at the time for an open Internet. Now we're fighting to get those protections back and seem to be succeeding.

 

Before former President Bush entered office we had 30 + years (under both Republican and Democratic U.S. Presidents) of pro competition, pro innovation rules to keep the Internet open. AT&T (Ma Bell) was forced to be broken up for a reason to create competition in the broadband Internet access market and policies mandating that competition remain to prevent mega mergers like we've seen since former President Bush came to office in 2001 were in effect. When Bush entered office the U.S. was 4th worldwide in terms of broadband Internet penetration -- thanks to deregulation, mega-mergers etc we have less competition, consumer choices and innovation now -- also the U.S. has slipped way behind other countries that maintained their commitments to pro competition regulations in adopting broadband Internet and have a digital divide in this country where usually urban rich areas have Internet and poor rural areas lack Internet access. Even when people in rural areas want Internet they'll often find there is no provider in their area for high speed Internet or they provide sub par service and there are no other choices for better service.

 

If we close the digital divide we can create millions of new clean high tech jobs for the future that will help the economy especially now given the high unemployment we have. Net Neutrality is necessary for a democratic open Internet. Everyone even people using mobile devices should have access to the same open Internet that connects everyone together and lets anyone participate online freely with no corporate gatekeepers. AT&T should not be allowed to block Skype or Vonage Mobile's iPhone app from running on their wireless networks (under Net Neutrality discrimination is disallowed) nor should Apple be able to block Google Voice from the iPhone App Store because it duplicates/competes with the calling features of the iPhone itself. I applaud the FCC for working to restore Net Neutrality and extend it to wireless Internet. Everyone should be afforded the same protections whether on wireline or wireless Internet.

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Idea No. 201