Last updated: February 21, 2008 - 1:42am
CONGRESS TURNS A DEAF EAR TO NEED FOR NET NEUTRALITY
[SOURCE: San Jose Mercury News, AUTHOR: Editorial Staff]
[Commentary] Just as lawmakers in Congress are pushing a bill that could increase competition in video and high-speed Internet services, they're willing to allow phone and cable companies to subvert that competition. A key House committee, which approved the bill Wednesday, would allow cable and phone companies to create special Internet toll lanes that would give them a virtual chokehold on the future of the Internet. Web sites and Web services that pay would have their content -- especially video content -- delivered faster to customers, while those who don't could be stuck in a lane so slow as to make them unusable. This would turn on its head one of the key principles that made the Internet a powerful engine of innovation and economic growth. Without Net Neutrality principles, the burgeoning but still nascent world of online video may never get off the ground. Instead of inventive start-ups sprouting everywhere to deliver video content in innovative ways to more people and more devices, the cable and phone firms would be in a position to pick winners and losers. And it's a safe bet that they won't give anyone who threatens their own video business a shot a being a winner. There's far too much at stake to leave the Internet's future to the whims of the handful of companies that control online access. Congress must make Internet neutrality the law of the land.
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