Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the guy who invented the World Wide Web, says that if U.S. lawmakers let themselves get pushed around by the telcos, the web will enter a “dark period”.
Sir Tim said this was “not the internet model”. The “right” model, as exists at the moment, was that any content provider could pay for a connection to the internet and could then put any content on to the web with no discrimination.
Make no mistake, the telephone companies have very powerful lobbies in Washington, and a ton of money. And they’re two-faced. A post on Techdirt discusses how the telcos are very much against regulation that limits their ability to make money hand-over-fist, but were all for it when it benefited them.
I used to work in the bowels of AT&T, but even there heard about how the regional bells held on to their local monopoly while in long-distance calling it was knock-down drag-out competition. And what has happened? A few of the RBOCs merged and became megacorporations. The long-distance guys? AT&T was subsumed by SBC and MCI and Sprint are mere shadows of their former selves. The winners: The guys who milked their local access monopoly. The losers: consumers like me.
Keep the net neutral.