Yesterday, the measures intended to maintain “Net Neutrality” failed in the Senate Commerce Committee, meaning it looks like the bill to change Internet access pricing will be headed toward a full senate vote. If passed, telecom companies will be able to create a two-tiered system of Internet access based on how much you can and are willing to pay. Olympia Snowe of Maine co-wrote the proposal to maintain the same access for everyone, hence “Net Neutrality.”
Oregon Senator Ron Wyden has put a hold on the bill, intending to fillibuster it. But it’s uncertain whether or not the opposition has the votes to break it. Wyden says:
The Internet has thrived precisely because it is neutral. It has thrived because consumers, and not some giant cable or phone company, get to choose what they want to see and how quickly they get to see it. I am not going to allow a bill to go forward that is going to end surfing the web free of discrimination.
While this bill does not in any way regulate what Internet users can access, it does begin to set up a system where the haves get more in terms of faster and better connectivity for video distribution, multimedia sharing and more. To me, at least, it feels like a dangerous precedent, and another way potentially for some of our more fortunate kids to get a leg up on those who may not be able to pay.
Just like with DOPA, this needs our attention. For more information, check out the Wikipedia entry or head on over to Save The Internet where you can get a rundown on the potential threats. You can find your Senator’s phone numbers there too.