John McCain – Whore For Telco

Why you should care about Net Neutrality

As they usually do, the right has done a good job framing what may be a bitter fight over Internet bandwidth.  Yesterday, John McCain introduced something called “The Internet Freedom Act,” which, if passed, would give the major Telecom companies and ISPs the ability to throttle bandwidth whenever and to whom ever they choose. This legislation would forbid the FCC from preventing the Telco’s from creating a “play for pay” system where they could block or slow down content and applications.

What could this mean for you?  Well, that depends, of course, on how you use the Internet.  I like to watch live baseball games streamed in real-time from MLB.com, perhaps you like to watch streamed content, or download movies, or play on-line games, or chat with grandchildren.  Here’s what the “Freedom” act would do for you:  The Telco’s want the “freedom” to charge high-bandwidth content providers depending upon what they think the market will bear.  In other words, what if the site you like to watch streaming content from decides it’s business model cannot afford extra charges, it will simply cease.

Under the guise of “freeing the Internet,” this bill would actually lead to the curtailment of content and higher costs for all of us who depend upon the Internet. Here is an excerpt from McCain’s press release:

“This government takeover of the Internet will stifle innovation, in turn slowing our economic turnaround and further depressing an already anemic job market. Outside of health care, the technology industry is the nation’s fastest growing job market. Innovation and job growth in this sector of our economy is the key to America’s future prosperity. In 2008, while most industries were slashing jobs in the worst economy in nearly 30 years, high tech industries actually added over 77,000 good high-paying jobs. Just this month, Google and Yahoo both released positive earnings reports.”

The FCC, you see, is going to institute a series of Net Neutrality rules to prohibit the Telco’s from doing what they have been trying to do for years, and what McCain’s deceptively labeled bill would do is allow them to pick and choose which content providers would be favored with full bandwidth, and which would not.  McCain ironically mentioned Google and Yahoo in his press release, as these two companies wrote Congress in April to request that the FCC be allowed to implement the neutrality rules!

Why is John McCain doing this?  After all, the man admitted during the Presidential Campaign that he didn’t know anything about computers, and that his wife handled all his personal email.  Well, the old game of “follow the money” usually works, and this time we find that McCain has been the biggest beneficiary of Telecom campaign contributions the past two years, raking in a total of $894,379, more then twice as much as Harry Reid, the number two finisher at $341,089.  From the PC World story:

“Net neutrality rules would amount to a federal mandate that broadband providers cannot block or hinder the internet traffic of any web site or service, regardless of whether or not that site or service completes with a similar site or service offered by the ISP itself. In other words, a telco ISP could not limit bandwidth used for Skype VoIP traffic, while maximizing bandwidth available for its own VoIP service.

As Congress considers legislation that would codify net neutrality into law, cable and phone companies are hoping to cut a better deal on Capitol Hill than they are likely to get from the FCC, the Sunlight Foundation’s Bill Allison says.

As the network neutrality issue has come to a head over the past year, due in large part to the new FCC’s interest in it, telco and cable lobbyists have been flooding the offices (and coffers) of lawmakers. The Sunlight Foundation study found that some 244 members of Congress were the beneficiaries of contributions–totaling more than $9.4 million–from January 2007 to June 2009. The analysis was based on a survey of giving by eight large broadband providers and two trade associations that represent them, all which have disclosed lobbying on net neutrality issues.”

If the FCC is prevented from implementing the Net Neutrality controls on the Telco’s and ISP’s, it will not only end up costing us money, we might even be deprived of services we have come to expect and depend on.  This is another issue that’s worth a phone call or letter to your Senator or Representative, to let them know that you won’t stand for meddling with the Internet, no matter what the bill is called!

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