Yahoo! Exec Dissses Network Neutrality

A Yahoo! News Vice-President just called the battle to restore network nondiscrimination to U.S. broadband a “tempest in a teapot.” That’s according to a blog post from Celia Wexler of Common Cause. Scott Moore, the Yahoo! exec. was also reported saying that “in a competitive media marketplace, any company that withheld content that people wanted would find those individuals choosing another cable or broadband provider.” It’s clear he doesn’t cover the media industry! We’re not surprised that high-ups at Yahoo! would see network neutrality as something less than important to fight for. Yahoo!, Google and Microsoft know they have the clout–and the business partnerships–to ensure their content and service gets carried by AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, and Time Warner. We have also heard–via the Hill–that Google has largely been missing in action when it comes to the net neutral fight.

Ultimately, the big online companies will make their deal with NCTA and USTA. That’s why we urge readers not to believe that network neutrality is some kind of magic digital bullet. Having neutrality alone will not give us the democratic digital media system the country requires. Nor is it certain that Congress will pass anytime soon any policy that truly democratizes the country’s broadband infrastructure. NGO’s and others will still need to build a system, via the marketplace, that places the public interest before profits (although with sites and services that can still makes lots of money to help make sustainable civic expression and social justice work).

Author: jeff

Jeff Chester is executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy. A former journalist and filmmaker, Jeff's book on U.S. electronic media politics, entitled "Digital Destiny: New Media and the Future of Democracy" was published by The New Press in January 2007. He is now working on a new book about interactive advertising and the public interest.

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