The Federal Communications Commission's impending vote to create new rules regulating Internet data-flow on Thursday has lawmakers and business-owners picking sides. CEOs of the Internet's biggest companies (Google, Twitter, Facebook, Amazon and E-Bay, to name a few) favor the "net neutral" regulation, which would prevent broadband service providers from charging more to access certain kinds of content, such as web videos. That position, currently favored by the FCC, has also been supported by the White House. On the other hand, broadband and phone giants like Comcast and AT&T are worried that the new rules will prohibit them from offering fast, high-priced premium data services. Their push to impede new regulations has recently received the backing of a sizable bipartisan group in Congress. Bloggers are similarly split down the middle (echoing previous coverage by The Atlantic Wire):
- Let It Flow Art Brodsky, a member of the digital public-interest group Public Knowledge, makes the case for regulating the Internet in favor of openness at the Huffington Post. He reduces the debate to one fundamental question: "Who is more worthy of our elected representatives advocacy? Big telecom companies which want to exercise control over something they never controlled? Or the millions of people who are used to an Internet in which they, not big media, make decisions about how to go about their online lives, whether investing millions of dollars, uploading a video or just listening to music." Unfortunately, he says, the telecom companies have the upper hand right now because they can afford to spend more on lobbying.
- Don't Let Telecom Fool You, warns Jason Roenbaum at Firedoglake. He agrees that the telecom case against government regulation seems convincing at first: "After all, the Internet has grown up just fine without these regulations, why would we need them now?" But he goes on to point out that neutrality has in fact been the norm, and that advocates simply want to protect it from greedy, increasingly over-reaching telecom companies. He pleads on behalf of the internet today: "It is because of net neutrality that we have blogs like this one. It’s because of net neutrality that we have Google, YouTube, Facebook, and all the other sites we take for granted every day. And there’s nothing wrong with the FCC making net neutrality a formal rule so this innovation can continue into the future."