Have you heard about the battle over the Internet?
It’s a power grab that involves lawyers, lobbyists, unscrupulous legislators, phony front groups and the most powerful telecommunications companies in the world.
They’ve aligned themselves against the rest of us — the millions of Americans who use the Internet every day, in increasingly inventive ways.
They’ve opened their wallets to Washington. It’s an investment of hundreds of millions of dollars and it’s being made right now by AT&T, Comcast and Verizon — the companies that provide broadband access to the vast majority of Americans.
These companies are chasing the ultimate payout: control, not just of the Internet wires that snake into our homes, but over the information that flows across those wires..
Right now, the FCC and Congress are weighing a series of decisions that could determine whether this decade-long explosion of Internet creativity was a short-lived experiment in people-powered media, or the beginning of an era of more decentralized, participatory and democratic communications.
20th-century media colossi prefer a return to the old ways, where a handful of gatekeeper firms operated the turn-on valve to all popular information. It was a profitable model that worked well for one-way communications like newspapers, radio, and television. If only it can be applied in age of flash mobs and FourSquare, too.
These media giants are spending a fortune to convince lawmakers and regulators to dismantle consumer protections on the Internet and give industry absolute power over the most important communications medium of our time.
Here’s how they plan to do it, in four easy steps: Read the rest of this entry →