A Series of Tubes

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If you’ve kept up with much news lately, you may have heard the term “Net Neutrality.” And you probably assume it has nothing to do with you – it’s for those “techie people.”
You’d be wrong.

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The Internet as we know it has always had an “every website is created equal” thing going. If you want to search for a recipe for chocolate chip cookies, you can use Google or Yahoo. If you want to download music, you can use iTunes or Rhapsody. This, my personal blog, loads as fast as sites run by billion-dollar companies.
You can visit any site you like, anytime you like, all at equal speeds. There are no limits. This is Net Neutrality.

Greedy Internet Service Providers want to change all that. And the government is going to let them, if something isn’t done.

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The Issue
Internet Providers like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast want to be Internet gatekeepers, deciding which sites go fast or slow and which won’t load at all.

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Example: I use Google. Let’s say that Yahoo pays my Internet Provider a bunch of money. Now, my Internet Provider blocks Google, and I have to use Yahoo instead.
(Note: This is purely example. Yahoo is pro-Net Neutrality, as is Google)

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These Internet Providers 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 providers, and streaming video – while slowing down or blocking their competitors.

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This isn’t just about blocking a few websites. If Net Neutrality is eliminated, everyone will be affected. Sending family photos and videos could slow to a crawl. Web pages you always use for online banking, access to health care information, planning a trip, or communicating with friends and family could fall victim to pay-for-speed schemes.
Independent voices and political groups are especially vulnerable. Costs will skyrocket to post and share video and audio clips, silencing bloggers and amplifying the big media companies.

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How the Government Is Involved
In Congress, Senator Ted Stevens has introduced a major rehaul of the Telecommunications Act, one which provides no meaningful protections for Net Neutrality. The committee split down the middle on the measure, casting a tie vote of 11-11. The bill will move to the full Senate later this year.

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Sen. Stevens has given a fascinating explanation of the Internet and Net Neturality. He obviously exhibits an understanding of technology that is far beyond anything us normal citizens could grasp.
To be blunt, it’s quite humorous.
Listen to the key excerpt of his speech here: MP3 Audio (2:29)

His main point is this:

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They want to deliver vast amounts of information over the internet. And again, the internet is not something you just dump something on. It’s not a truck.

It’s a series of tubes.

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And if you don’t understand those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and its going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material.

What You Can Do
Sign the SavetheInternet.com petition.

Call or e-mail your members of Congress today and demand that Net Neutrality be protected.

Show your support for Internet freedom on your Web site or blog.

Tell your friends about this crucial issue before it’s too late.

External Links:
Much of the information in this post comes from SavetheInternet.com, a leader in the battle for Net Neutrality.
A humorous take on the topic: “Ask A Ninja” on Net Neutrality

Ted Steven’s Full Speech Audio
Ted Steven’s Speech Text

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