Word is spreading through the blogosphere about a new coalition that aims to protect Network Neutrality. The group, called Save The Internet, is obtaining support across the political spectrum. Here is the Statement of Principles:
We believe that the Internet is a crucial engine for economic growth and democratic discourse. We urge Congress to take steps now to preserve network neutrality, a guiding principle of the Internet, and to ensure that the Internet remains open to innovation and progress.
Network neutrality is the Internet’s First Amendment. Without it, the Internet is at risk of losing the openness and accessibility that has revolutionized democratic participation, economic innovation and free speech.
From its beginnings, the Internet was built on a cooperative, democratic ideal. It has leveled the playing field for all comers. Everyday people can have their voices heard by thousands, even millions of people. Network neutrality has prevented gatekeepers from blocking or discriminating against new economic, political and social ideas.
The major telecommunications legislation now under consideration in Congress must include meaningful and enforceable network neutrality requirements to keep the Internet free and open to all.
Here is a link to the Frequently Asked Questions list. A representative sample follows:
Who wants to get rid of net neutrality?
The nation’s largest telephone and cable companies — including AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and Time Warner — want to be Internet gatekeepers, deciding which Web sites go fast or slow and which won’t load at all.
They want to tax content providers to guarantee speedy delivery of their data. They want to discriminate in favor of their own search engines, Internet phone services, and streaming video — while slowing down or blocking their competitors.
These companies have a new vision for the Internet. Instead of an even playing field, they want to reserve express lanes for their own content and services — or those from big corporations that can afford the steep tolls — and a leave the rest of us on a winding dirt road.
When I last wrote about Net Neutrality, I expressed concern that it be considered on its merits and not be solely a political issue. I will keep an eye on this and other groups here on the blog, but I sure like how it has begun by garnering support across political lines.