We are astonished at the reaction of all the so-called conservative/â€free marketâ€ groups that have rushed to side with the telephone and cable monopoly in the network neutrality fight. This is battle between those who want to ensure our individual freedom to travel online wherever we wish to go, versus those who wish to create a private Internet toll-road. The Internet should not be a gated community. Itâ€™s the public squareâ€”with plenty of convenient shopping nearby.
So why oh why are the groups backing AT&T, Verizon, and Comcastâ€”such as the Heritage Foundation, Americans for Tax Reform, CATO, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the National Taxpayers Unionâ€”doing this? They claim that network neutrality supporters are either liberals desiring to â€œregulateâ€ the web or that companies such as Google and eBay are looking for competitive advantages. Butâ€”they are simply wrong. And the public will pay dearly for their foolhardy bad judgement.
The phone and cable companies have plans to dramatically change the wide, open spaces of online into their private property. They want a digital monopolyâ€”like they have had either in the phone or cable TV business.
Itâ€™s a land grab of the Internet in the U.S.â€”with restrictions on our freedom to travel online, new threats to our privacy, and lack of consumer choice. These so-called conservative groups have been badly misinformed—or are on the financial dole from the phone and cable lobby. Whatever the reason, itâ€™s evident that theyâ€™re not well serving their members by selling out the Internet to a tiny handful of monopolists. (They should all identify whether they have taken money from the communications lobby and how much).
They are also unaware of the phone and cable plans for the Internet. When the Heritage Foundationâ€™s James Gattuso says network neutrality would prevent â€œnetwork ownersâ€¦[from using] scare Internet capacity more efficientlyâ€ he ignores there plans to impose a pay as you go Internet toll road. That would mean that a phone or cable company could make it harder for us to access the website of our choice because they have given themselves priority. In other wordsâ€”the public gets to stand or lumped into cramped digital economy class, while the phone or cable company puts itself in first class (paying for that service with the money they get from our bills each month).
Shame, shame on â€œAmericans for Tax Reformâ€ and the other groups. Why are they putting hard-working families last and the Internet `super size usâ€™ media companies first?
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