- This article follows two previous ones, accessed through
the following links:
- Free Press.net is a national, nonpartisan, nonprofit
organization working for media reform through education, organizing and
advocacy - Net Neutrality its defining issue, keeping it free and open,
letting users access all content without restrictions, limitations, or
discrimination, an online level playing field for everyone, the essence
of democratic free speech. Without it, consumer choice will be lost, stolen
by corporate predators, making the Internet look like cable TV, letting
them decide what web sites, content and applications are available at what
- On August 4, New York Times writer Edward Wyatt headlined,
"Google and Verizon Near Deal on Web Pay Tiers," saying:
- These giants "are nearing an agreement that could
allow Verizon to speed some online content to Internet users more quickly
if the content's creators are willing to pay for the privilege."
- Content producers would pay more for preferential service,
but consumers will also be affected, paying higher fees or losing out,
sacrificing Net Neutrality, a "sacred tenet....in which no form of
content is favored over another."
- On August 5, Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswires
Scott Morrison headlined "2nd Google, Verizon Deny Tiered-Web Deal
- Today, the two firms "denied a report saying (they)
were to close an agreement that would allow the carrier to speed up the
delivery of online content to Internet users if content creators paid for
the privilege," subverting Net Neutrality in which all content is
- Verizon issued a statement saying:
- "Our goal is an Internet policy framework that ensures
openness and accountability, and incorporates specific FCC authority, while
maintaining investment and innovation. To suggest this is a business arrangement
between our companies is entirely incorrect."
- Google also denied The Times story saying:
- "We remain as committed as we always have been to
an open Internet.....We have not had any conversations with Verizon about
paying for carriage of Google or YouTube traffic."
- An earlier Wall Street Journal article said the two companies
may soon announce an agreement they hope could be a model for legislation
aimed to prevent telephone or cable companies from delaying or blocking
Internet traffic. The Times, however, stands by its report.
- Broadband companies want maximum customer revenue. Internet
ones have long opposed prioritized traffic because it'll cost more, especially
for popular sites like YouTube.
- An August 6 freepress.com article by its Media Coordinator
Jenn Ettinger headlined, "Company (Google) Claims to Support Open
Internet but Remains Dodgy About Details of Deal with Verizon," saying:
- "Google's 'denial'....leaves out many important
details about the policy agreement being negotiated with Verizon....the
company (falls short of openness) about its position on fundamental issues
like 'managed services,' and how the Internet will be treated on wireless
networks. Google has already entered into a lucrative partnership with
Verizon to push its Android operating system for mobile phones."
- S. Derek Turner, Free Press' Research Director added:
- "Google's denial is just damage control, a sleight-of-hand-designed
to deflect the growing public outcry against a company that once pledged
'don't be evil.' "
- Turner said reports about Google and Verizon are worrisome.
They're not denying their wireless network arrangement. "This means
(not) only will pay-for priority be allowed, but (also) that companies
like Verizon will be permitted to outright block websites that compete
with it or its partners like Google."
- Google/Verizon "Policy Framework" Announced
- Now revealed, the deal is "worse than feared,"
according to Free Press' Communications Director Liz Rose and Jenn Ettinger,
saying in a joint statement with MoveOn.Org Civic Action, Credo Action,
the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, and ColorofChange.org, all members
of the SavetheInternet.com Coalition:
- "The Google-Verizon pact isn't just as bad as we
feared - it's much worse. They are attacking the Internet while claiming
to preserve it. Google users won't be fooled."
- Here's their scheme - partial Net Neutrality, what "they'll
likely stop investing in," in lieu of a new, deregulated, corporate-controlled
Internet via fiber and wireless phones, where they "can pick and choose
which sites people can easily view on their phones or any other Internet
device using these networks."
- It will let them block applications and "divide
the information superhighway, creating new private fast lanes for the big
players while leaving the little guy stranded on a winding dirt road."
- Worse still, it will turn the FCC into a "toothless
watchdog, left fruitlessly chasing complaints and unable to make rules
of its own."
- Net Neutrality will be destroyed, removing the last free
and open space, why it's crucial that the administration, Congress and
the FCC reject the deal outright. The alternative is too grim to imagine.
- Again, it will create two Internets, put two big players
in charge, and pave the way for other giants to follow, the public left
- Free Press CEO/co-founder Josh Silver highlighted the
threat in his August 5 article headlined, "Google-Verizon Deal: The
End of the Internet as We Know It," asking:
- How did this happen? We have (an FCC) that has been denied
authority by the courts to police (Internet service provider) activities....because
of a bad (Bush-era FCC) decision."
- As a result, we have a "pro-industry" chairman
cutting back room deals, a president who promised Net Neutrality now silently
capitulating, and a Democrat-controlled Congress little more than corporate
occupied territory, pushing sweeping, across-the-board-pro-business measures,
stiff-arming their constituents.
- The stakes are enormous. Digital democracy (the last
media frontier) is on the line. If Google, phone and cable companies prevail,
it's lost. They'll be self-regulating, able to charge what they wish, and
block content freely.
- Combined, telecom, broadcast and cable giants have lobbied
fiercely for control - to establish online toll roads, or premium lanes,
for users wanting speed and access. Others will get slower (and for some
no) service, will have to pay for formerly free sites, and whatever corporate
interests dislike will be censored or suppressed.
- Ahead, all video, radio, phone and other services will
be delivered online. Without Net Neutrality, thought control will replace
free expression, corporate interests more than ever in control, a nightmarish
vision essential to prevent, what only mass public outrage can and must
- Net Neutrality is the defining issue of our time, preserving
it a battle vital to win to maintain corporate-free space, crucial to defend
at all costs. The stakes are that high.
- After Wall Street, media giants already get more government
handouts than any other industry, including:
- -- monopoly licenses for radio, TV, satellite TV spectrum,
cable TV and telephone, worth hundreds of billions of dollars combined;
- -- free industrial spectrum TV, cable and telephone for
internal use, worth many billions more;
- -- lucrative postal subsidies;
- -- federal, state and local film and TV production subsidies;
- -- all levels of government advertising worth billions
- -- advertising expenditures as a business deductible
- -- electoral political advertising amounting to about
10% of TV ad revenue, and in depressed economic times even more;
- -- government lobbying for media giants overseas for
deregulated markets and subsidies diverted to them and other US companies;
- -- their largest handout - government-created/enforced
copyrights, giving media giants monopoly power to consolidate to too-big-to
fail status, the trend author Ben Bagdikian documented since 1983 in new
editions of his landmark book, "The Media Monopoly," explaining
how dozens of media companies combined into a handful of communication
giants, controlling television, radio, newspapers, magazines, publishing,
films, music, and more, the public be damned for profits.
- Now the Internet is up for grabs, the last free expression
space, threatened by profiteering predators partnered with a Capitol Hill/administration
- Highlighting the danger on Free Press, Silver explains
- "phone and cable monopolies (controlling nearly)
all Internet access, want the power to choose who gets access to high-speed
lanes and whose content gets seen first and fastest," besides controlling
what's published and what's not.
- They want unregulated power "to build a two-tiered
system and block the on-ramps for those who can't pay," shutting down
the last free and open space, stealing it for themselves, a mass-awakening
needed to stop them before it's too late.
- A Final Comment
- Under Title II of the 1934 Telecommunications Act, FCC
officials can stop this piracy, using its delegated authority to write
rules, not pass the buck to Congress or let industry giants self-regulate.
With digital democracy on the line, it's high time public outrage demanded
nothing less. The stakes are that high.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
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