If You Love the Internet, Fight for It

official; I've become a geek. I love the Internet, gush over it like
it's a newborn baby. In conversations, I relate everything back to the
Internet. "Oh, that's great about you, but back to the
Internet." If I was eight-years-old, I would probably marry it.

with my love affair with the Web (should I talk to my therapist about

official; I've become a geek. I love the Internet, gush over it like
it's a newborn baby. In conversations, I relate everything back to the
Internet. "Oh, that's great about you, but back to the
Internet." If I was eight-years-old, I would probably marry it.

with my love affair with the Web (should I talk to my therapist about

I get a
little chill when I think about the democratizing power of the Internet, how it
allows us to bypass the corporate media for stories that truly reflect our
interests and concerns, create and control our own content, connect with people
around the world who we are taught to fear, organize for social change beyond
the reach of pepper spray, build our own businesses beyond borders, and learn
about anything (how to change my car oil; recipe for gluten-free pie; what
happens when you put a laptop in the blender?).

course, all the reasons above scare the crap out of corporations that are used
to controlling everything we watch, read, and hear. They don't like this
unbridled innovation or the fact that we're spending more and more time
watching user-generated content instead of the formulaic sitcoms they plop in
front of us. They don't like that we've traded online news for
newspapers, in part, because the old guard wasn't giving us the news we
need. And they certainly don't like that a singer can upload her songs to
MySpace and build a following without corporate blessings.

Internet service providers - companies like AT&T, Verizon, Comcast
and Time Warner Cable - want that control back, or rather, to further
entrench their control. They want to be able to block, throttle, discriminate
against, slow down, and speed up content online - and make a killing
doing it. And that's why they're doing their best to stifle Network
Neutrality, the principle that prohibits ISPs from charging consumers and
companies to make their content load faster than others.

As the
Federal Communications Commission considers how to create a national broadband
plan to get high-speed Internet to all Americans, big phone and cable companies
are spending tens of millions of dollars on
more than 400 Washington
lobbyists to crowd out the public's voice.

But you
have the chance to counterattack by telling the FCC
you want an open Internet before the comment period on the national broadband
plan closes next Tuesday, July 21.

my own show

friends tell me I'm funny. And thanks to the Internet, I can branch out
beyond entertaining at dinner parties.

For the
last year, another friend and I have been creating completely amateur comedy webisodes
called "How Hard Could it Be?"
and sharing them on YouTube. It's the most fun I've had since I
convinced my younger sister to eat a sponge covered in chocolate icing on April
Fool's Day.

don't have a lot of views, but that's not the point. The Internet
has allowed us to make our own show. We don't have to rely on corporate
gatekeepers to approve us. We have complete control over the content, when we
make it, and how we distribute it. If we want to devote an entire show to
panning for gold, we can (and we did). Our
imaginations can run wild, and we're only accountable to each other and
our fans.

the Internet is an open platform, I can choose how to present myself in the
videos I create. I can decide that female comedy doesn't have to mean
showing cleavage, and I don't have to play into the same industry
standards that don't represent women in a healthy way. It's
incredibly empowering.

But, this
open platform, the one that allows all of use to make our own blogs, videos, podcasts,
Web sites, etc., is under threat. If the ISPs have their way, they'll
turn the Internet into an e-toll road, where you have to pay to get your
content to load quickly. For those of us who can't afford it, our
content, and the content we're looking for, will be relegated to the slow

make a webisode about it, but it's really not funny.


research team at Free Press, where I work while waiting for Saturday Night Live to call, poured
over the comments that ISPs filed with the FCC about the national broadband
plan. Their attempts to trash Net Neutrality and control the Web aren't
hidden. They say it themselves, though you may have to read between the

and Verizon Wireless (
): The wireless
marketplace also shows that many consumers prefer a more highly-managed network
environment for their wireless devices.

"A highly-managed network" means they have complete control
over what you can do with YOUR phone. Is that what consumers want?

): The
government must be careful not to adopt legislation or policies (such as
restrictions on deep packet inspection), that would hinder private-sector
efforts to detect, protect against, and mitigate cybersecurity threats.

Translation: Deep
packet inspection allows ISPs to inspect what you do online. AT&T wants to
ensure it can use this technology.

Warner Cable (
): No additional
action is necessary to promote network openness. The burgeoning
broadband services marketplace will ensure that consumers continue to enjoy
an open Internet.

"We really enjoy our monopoly and don't want any competition. We
intend to decide how open your Internet connection remains."

The Internet I want

It comes
down to this: we have an unprecedented opportunity to finally create a national
broadband plan in the U.S. that will bridge our glaring digital divide, bring
us up to speed with the rest of the world, boost our economy and allow us to
keep innovating.

must protect Internet users from corporate gatekeepers who seek to keep prices
high and speeds slow, limit access to content and stifle innovation and market

not the Internet I want. I want an Internet that gives everyone an opportunity
to create their own content, and go wherever they choose on the Web.

What do
you want?

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