By Amy Goodman with Denis Moynihan
Michael Powell is the son of Gen. Colin Powell. The elder Powell knows a thing or two about war. He famously presented the case for invading Iraq to the United Nations, on Feb. 5, 2003, based on faulty evidence of weapons of mass destruction. He calls that speech a painful “blot” on his record. So it is especially surprising when his son threatens “World War III” on the Obama administration.
Michael Powell is the president of the NCTA, the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, which is the cable industry’s largest lobbying group. He is also the former chairperson of the FCC, the Federal Communications Commission. His target: net neutrality. The battleground is in Washington, D.C., inside the FCC’s nondescript headquarters. The largest Internet service providers — companies like Comcast, Time Warner Cable, AT&T and Verizon — are joining forces to kill net neutrality. Millions of citizens, along with thousands of organizations, companies, artists and investors, are trying to save it.
What is net neutrality? It’s the fundamental notion that anyone on the Web can reach anyone else, that users can just as easily access a small website launched in a garage as they can access major Internet portals like Google or Yahoo. Net neutrality is the Internet’s protection against discrimination. So why would these giant Internet Service Providers want to eliminate such a good thing? Greed. The largest ISPs make massive profits already. But if they are allowed to create a multitiered Internet, with some content providers paying extra to have their websites or Web applications load faster, then they can squeeze out extra profit. Remember, the users are already paying for Internet access. Now companies like Comcast want to charge people at the other end of the Internet connection, raking in billions of dollars from both the Internet user and the Internet content provider.
If net neutrality is eliminated, then large, established content providers with ample cash will buy access to a privileged “fast lane” on the Internet. Smaller websites and new applications will not have the same access, and will be stuck in the “slow lane.” The era of lean start-ups driving innovation will come screeching to a halt. Don’t look for any more high-tech companies founded in dorm rooms. Those sites will take longer to load than those offered by the big companies.
Global Climate Change