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Net Neutrality Update

In Uncategorized on June 26, 2006 at 2:29 pm

The vote that was supposed to take place this last Thursday, June 22nd, on the issue of net neutrality was delayed.

While everyone works and waits to see what happens next, check out what some of the opposition to net neutrality has been doing according to Russel Shaw of ZDnet.

As AT&T continues its battles with net neutrality proponents on Capitol Hill this week, I thought it would be interesting to see where AT&T CEO Ed Whitacre has been spending his own money this campaign and election cycle.

I went to Opensecrets.org, and checked under “Whitacre.”

I found several donations, most of them to Net Neutrality opponents.

These personal $1,000 campaign donations from the controversial and outspoken AT&T chief have been to Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas); Rep. Michael McCall (R-Texas), and Sen. John Ensign (R-Nevada). Whitacre has written $500 checks to the campaigns of Sen. George Allen (R-Virginia) and Rep. Mike Ferguson (R-New Jersey).

Whitacre has also donated $1,000 to the pro-Republican Keep Our Majority PAC, and a like amount to Sen. John McCain’s Straight Talk America.

Also, thanks to Davey D for sending out this article/link on the topic.  The article is a good summary of the issue, meant to be sort of a rally cry before the vote on Thursday.  Since the vote was delayed, it still applies.  A couple interesting points from the article are below, even though you should read the whole thing.

Scott Goodstein of savetheinternet.com….points out that the U.S. telecom companies claim to be the most advanced in the world and that they need financial incentive in order to create faster speeds and innovations, but the U.S. is actually behind in development.

"There are actually 15 countries ahead of the U.S. in the percentage of its citizens who have access to broadband Internet access," Goodstein said by phone. "The highest speed in the U.S. is 1.5 megabits per second which is provided at a cost of around $30 per month. In France, users get 25 megabits per second for about $6 per month. In some Asian countries, customers are about to start to receive 1000 megabits per second. The argument that U.S. telecom companies need an end of network neutrality in order to provide more than 6 megabits per second is absurd. Its a money grab." He also points out that the telecom companies did not invent the Internet and that they "have been subsidized millions of dollars by U.S. taxpayers to provide universal broadband access, but have yet to deliver."

Possibly the darkest possibility if the Senate does not uphold net neutrality, is that telecom companies will outright deny access to certain voices. Telecom companies have been lobbying to assert a free speech right based on a United States Supreme Court ruling that first amendment speakers may not be compelled to provide a platform for a different persons speech. In other words, if the telecom companies do not agree with the position of a particular group or individual, they do not have to make that group or individuals position available to its customers

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