Net Neutrality or “video choice” (whatever that is): Why can’t we have both?

Two days ago, the Senate Commerce Committee (headed by, you guessed it, Ted “Series of Tubes” Stevens) announced (and I quote) that “A new bipartisan poll released today finds that an overwhelming majority of American voters favor video choice over onerous ‘Net Neutrality’ regulations.” There are at least 3 reasons why this is a big load that you shouldn’t stand for:

1. As this site points out, there are many flaws with the poll:

i) only 5% of the total of 800 respondents had even heard of “Net Neutrality.”
ii) Do you think that 800 respondents can speak for all of America? I don’t.
iii) the survey is a push poll, which is a political campaign technique in which the question is really a disguise to influence or alter the view of the respondent. Example: Bush formed a push poll asking South Carolina voters: “Would you be more likely or less likely to vote for John McCain for
president if you knew he had fathered an illegitimate black child?”, an
allegation that had no substance, but planted the idea of undisclosed
allegations in the minds of thousands of primary voters. (true story, by the way).

2. The poll was funded by Verizon. Ridiculous. It’s like having Big Tobacco survey Americans on the health risks of cigarettes. Companies like Verizon want to torpedo Net Neutrality because they

want to be Internet gatekeepers, deciding which Web sites go fast or slow and which won’t load at all”
want to charge YOU “to guarantee speedy delivery of their data.”
want “to discriminate in favor of their own search engines, Internet phone services, and streaming video �while
slowing down or blocking their competitors,” and
want “to reserve express lanes for their own content and services.”

Source – savetheinternet.com.

3. Finally, “video choice” vs. Net Neutrality is a false dichotomy. There is no conflict between having “video choice” and having Net Neutrality and in fact we should advocate both. In point of fact, I am all for the break-up of the oligopoly of the telecom industry. However, having more competition in the telecom industry has absolutely nothing to do with our right not to be censored. If anything, degradation of our Net Neutrality rights will only lead to more consolidation, since the repeal of Net Neutrality is anti-competitive. It is anti-competitive because it allows Big Telco to muscle out Small Telco by taxing them and slowing/restricting the data of Small Telco’s customers.

So, what can you do? The following Senators are on the Commerce Committee:

Republicans

Democrats

Chairman Ted Stevens (AK)

Co-Chairman Daniel K. Inouye (HI)

John McCain (AZ)

John D. Rockefeller (WV)

Conrad Burns (MT)

John F. Kerry (MA)

Trent Lott (MS)

Byron L. Dorgan (ND)

Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX)

Barbara Boxer (CA)

Olympia J. Snowe (ME)

Bill Nelson (FL)

Gordon H. Smith (OR)

Maria Cantwell (WA)

John Ensign (NV)

Frank R. Lautenberg (NJ)

George Allen (VA)

E. Benjamin Nelson (NE)

John E. Sununu (NH)

Mark Pryor (AR)

Jim DeMint (SC)

David Vitter (LA)

If one of them is in your state, you should write them and convey your displeasure at this flagrant attempt to manipulate public opinion, and demand your Net Neutrality rights be protected. Raise hell. Pass this information to your friends. And support EFF.

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