“Sen. Al Franken claimed Monday that big corporations are ‘hoping to destroy’ the Internet and issued a call to arms to several hundred tech-savvy South by Southwest attendees to preserve net neutrality,” Mike Zapler reports for Politico. “‘I came here to warn you, the party may be over,’ Franken said. ‘They’re coming after the Internet hoping to destroy the very thing that makes it such an important for independent artists and entrepreneurs: its openness and freedom.’ Net neutrality, he added, is ‘the First Amendment issue of our time.'”

Zapler reports, “Receiving a hero’s welcome from the liberal crowd, Franken took repeated shots at big telecoms, singling out Comcast… Franken, who was an aggressive opponent of the Comcast acquisition of NBC Universal, implored SXSW attendees to fight the political influence of the big telecom firms.

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: A plastic surgeon’s motto: “When fixing what’s not broken, be careful your ‘fix’ doesn’t break the patient.” If the latter does unfortunately occur, U.S. plastic surgeons are subject to malpractice lawsuits. U.S senators, FCC chairmen, and other government officials are not. They get paid no matter what happens. And, if they happen to break something along the way, so much the better, since they’ll get paid to “fix” it forevermore.

Fostering realistic, competitive ISP choice for consumers is the best way to maintain “Net Neutrality.” True supporters of the concept of “Net Neutrality,” rather than some bastardized version that’s only branded “Net Neutrality,” should focus their energies in that direction.

The supporters of net neutrality regulation believe that more rules are necessary. In their view, without greater regulation, service providers might parcel out bandwidth or services, creating a bifurcated world in which the wealthy enjoy first-class Internet access, while everyone else is left with slow connections and degraded content.

That scenario, however, is a false paradigm. Such an all-or-nothing world doesn’t exist today, nor will it exist in the future. Without additional regulation, service providers are likely to continue doing what they are doing. They will continue to offer a variety of broadband service plans at a variety of price points to suit every type of consumer.

Depending on their requirements and preferences, some consumers will choose to pay more for premium service. Others will decide that they don’t need such high service levels, so they will pay less. Inevitably, the market will adjust, just as it has in the past, to this varied population and its preference for a highly diverse mix of services, quality, bandwidth and price. This is the hallmark of a competitive market.

Robert Pepper, Cisco Systems’ senior managing director, global advanced technology policy; former FCC chief of policy development, March 14, 2007

Full article – highly recommended – here.

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House passes amendment to block funds for FCC ‘Net Neutrality’ order – February 17, 2011
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FCC cites Android ‘openness’ as reason for neutered ‘Net Neutrality’ – December 22, 2010
U.S. FCC approves so-called ‘net-neutrality’ regulations – December 21, 2010
Tim Lee on ‘network neutrality’: Libertarian computer geeks should forge a third way – December 16, 2010
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Big win for Comcast as US court rules against FCC on authority to impose ‘Net Neutrality’ – April 6, 2010