News Release

End of the Internet?

The Senate has been hearing testimony about Network neutrality on the Internet and is expected to take up the subject in telecommunications legislation next week.

MARK COOPER
Director of research at the Consumer Federation of America, Cooper said today: “Network neutrality has existed throughout the history of the Internet and created the most dynamic environment for innovation and competition the nation has seen in generations. Good government policy decisions created an open, neutral communications platform over the objections of the telephone companies. It is the opponents of Network neutrality who would burden the Internet with Network discrimination. … Network discrimination alters the fundamentally open architecture of the Internet and forces innovators to negotiate with network operators before they can get into business — ending the era of ‘innovation without permission,’ as Vint Cerf, one of the fathers of the Internet, calls it.”
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JEFF CHESTER
Founder and director of the Center for Digital Democracy, Chester wrote the piece “The End of the Internet?” He said today: “Getting rid of Network neutrality will make the current open Internet more closely resemble the closed world of cable television. Content that will dominate will be what is associated with the big phone and cable companies. Other content providers will be confined to the Internet equivalent of a dirt road. And it’s not just PCs but also information going to mobile devices and such that will be affected.”
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SASCHA MEINRATH
Meinrath is founder and project coordinator of the Champaign-Urbana Wireless Network (CUWiN). He said today: “Telecommunications giants are trying to make everyone pay for their poor business planning. They overbuilt in many locations during the Internet boom in the late 1990s, creating a glut of dark fiber that could be utilized for broadband provision. But instead, the telcos are spending billions of dollars buying each other in an attempt to prevent the very competition that would lower prices and increase service options for consumers.

“Network neutrality is needed to maintain an Internet free from excessive charges and without content discrimination. These corporations are attempting to artificially limit customers’ choices so they can double-charge Internet users. Today, people and providers already pay for broadband access ­- these are the fees we pay to get connected to the Internet. However, the phone and cable giants are trying to make it so that content providers will be forced to pay a second time to prevent their content from being discriminated against; in essence, the network owners want to charge content providers once for access and a second time for speedy delivery.”

Meinrath added: “CUWiN uses open-source software to provide free Internet connectivity to residents of the Champaign-Urbana community and many other locations worldwide. We have built clouds of WiFi coverage throughout our city -­ allowing people free broadband access and the use of free services and applications (e.g., telephone/VoIP, streaming audio and video, webhosting) via this network. Currently, we get contacted every day from organizations and municipalities that would like to learn from our successes and are interested in replicating our service provision model.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167