Dewayne Hendricks dewayne at warpspeed.com
Thu Feb 2 06:10:13 PST 2006

[Note:  Worth reading.  Also, check out some of the white papers the
article points to.  One of note: "Network Neutrality:  A Broadband
Wild West?".  DLH]

[SOURCE: The Nation, AUTHOR: Jeff Chester]

[Commentary] Verizon, Comcast, Bell South and other communications
giants are developing strategies that would track and store
information on our every move in cyberspace in a vast data-collection
and marketing system, the scope of which could rival the National
Security Agency. According to white papers now being circulated in
the cable, telephone and telecommunications industries, those with
the deepest pockets--corporations, special-interest groups and major
advertisers -- would get preferred treatment. Content from these
providers would have first priority on our computer and television
screens, while information seen as undesirable, such as peer-to-peer
communications, could be relegated to a slow lane or simply shut out.
Under the plans they are considering, all of us--from content
providers to individual users -- would pay more to surf online,
stream videos or even send e-mail. Industry planners are mulling new
subscription plans that would further limit the online experience,
establishing "platinum," "gold" and "silver" levels of Internet
access that would set limits on the number of downloads, media
streams or even e-mail messages that could be sent or received. To
make this pay-to-play vision a reality, phone and cable lobbyists are
now engaged in a political campaign to further weaken the nation's
communications policy laws. They want the federal government to
permit them to operate Internet and other digital communications
services as private networks, free of policy safeguards or
governmental oversight. Indeed, both the Congress and the Federal
Communications Commission are considering proposals that will have
far-reaching impact on the Internet's future. Ten years after passage
of the ill-advised Telecommunications Act of 1996, telephone and
cable companies are using the same political snake oil to convince
compromised or clueless lawmakers to subvert the Internet into a
turbo-charged digital retail machine.


Links to White Papers mentioned above: <http://

Weblog at: <http://weblog.warpspeed.com>

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