Earlier today, FMC joined a conference call with Representative Ed Markey (D-MA) and bloggers on the subject of net neutrality. The purpose of the conversation was twofold: to thank online scribes for their work in raising awareness about the issue over the last few years, and also to talk about what can be done to preserve the open internet for everyone.
"For years, a handful of consumer groups have pushed this issue, warning of the threat to the internet," Markey said. Then a few years ago, I turned to you -- the bloggers and internet advocates who have a huge stake in keeping the internet open and free. . . you are the Paul Reveres, sounding the alarm: 'the big telcos are coming! The big telcos are coming!'"
Historical comparisons aside, there's no doubt that bloggers (and lets not forget musician-bloggers!) have had a huge hand in demonstrating why the open internet is crucial to innovation, entrepreneurship, free speech and creativity online.
For those unaware, net neutrality is the principle that protects the open internet. It's also the way the internet was designed and has always functioned. It guarantees all users the right to download and upload the lawful content and use the legal applications of their choice on the network. It's how a bedroom recording artist can use the same technological tools as the biggest companies. It's how today's bands establish direct relationships with their fans. And it's how entrepreneurs and innovators can create the next Google, Etsy or Pandora.
But a handful of powerful Internet Service Providers (ISPs) want to charge content providers (people that put stuff on the web, like musicians) a higher fee for the faster loading of their sites. This could carve up the internet into fast and slow lanes, and negatively impact innovation, creativity and commerce online.
Markey recently reintroduced net neutrality legislation (H.R. 3458), which would to enshrine net neutrality principles into law. "The concept of openness and nondiscrinination is baked into the personality of the internet," Markey said.
The Congressman also voiced support for the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on net neutrality at the FCC, which we told you about here. Rep. Markey encouraged everyone to participate in the process via OpenInternet.gov -- the portal for public participation in the rulemaking. "There's also a blog, and comments from the blog will be included in the official public record," he said. "I brag that the internet makes this possible."
Markey also published an item at Huffington Post today that talks about how the open internet "has enabled users to innovate, to get their voices heard, to launch new services and business enterprises, and to participate in cultural communications across the planet." Pretty much all the stuff we're into.