David Weinberger has written a lovely essay about liberating the Internet. (This is not a net neutrality piece although he does mention that.)
Main point: Let’s not watch the AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, and the rest of the incumbent gang upgrade our Internet to Cable TV 2.0 (with some slight variations).
Call your congressperson today and convince them “…that our economy, democracy and culture are too important to leave in the hands of companies that have demonstrated their willingness to lie to continue in their position of power. The Internet belongs to us as surely as the airwaves do.”
Couple of quotes to whet your appetite…
Who could blame the incumbent carriers? They came into this with a business model that served them well for decades. And changing their business model isn’t like changing their minds. Their business model is a vast technical infrastructure that cost of billions of dollars to build. It’s an organizational structure that brings a comfortable living to tens of thousands of people … and outrageous livings to a handful of senior executives. It’s a political structure staffed by hundreds of lobbyists who have become bosom buddies with People of Influence. The business model is embodied in skyscrapers financed by its own profits.
Our democracy flourishes when all ideas can get an equal hearing. The carriers would rather double dip, charging you to connect to the Net, and charging the popular sites for connecting to their users. The result: Big, rich sites will pay to work better than those offering ideas and services out of the mainstream. Big voices will pay to sound better than our voices.
That last point about double dipping is the really insidious part of this business, at least in my opinion. Aunt Peggy up in Coleraine, Minnesota won’t even know what’s going on behind the curtain. The “Big, rich sites” will fill her screen really fast and the backwater sites (like mine) will be very slow in downloading. Where do you think she will spend her time, all other things being equal?