Al Franken: Big corporations are ‘hoping to destroy’ the Internet

“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.

Related articles:
Speaker Boehner rips FCC bid to regulate Internet; likens ‘shocking’ national debt to Sputnik threat – February 28, 2011
House passes amendment to block funds for FCC ‘Net Neutrality’ order – February 17, 2011
Rasmussen: Just 21% of likely U.S. voters want FCC to regulate Internet – December 28, 2010
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
Google and Verizon propose ‘Net Neutrality’ rules, but exempt wireless’ – August 9, 2010
Big win for Comcast as US court rules against FCC on authority to impose ‘Net Neutrality’ – April 6, 2010


      1. And Catholics, and Protestants, and Muslims. And in fact he has scorn for every organized, ritualized religion. The fox network narrative of Maher leaves out some important details.

    1. Sen Franken seems to be doing a fairly good job from what I have seen- not great, but way better than average.

      What I cannot fathom is that the state that sent Franken to the Senate sent the Moron Michelle Bachmann to the House. The chick actually went to New Hampshire recently and said it was good to be in the state where the shot heard around the world was fired. That, BTW, would have been in Massachusetts- not New Hampshire. Of course a lawyer, member of Congress and self-described devotee of the founding fathers should know better, right?

      1. I wouldn’t title Franken “Senator”… How’d that phrase go again… Oh yeah, “selected, not elected”! He could only win under suspicious circumstances…

        Regarding Obama, I wonder, before his only term is up, will he get a chance to play golf in every state in America… According to Obama, “All 57 States, with one left to go!”… YouTube it… Talk about MORON!

        1. go bury your racist head in the ground you racist pig. Why don’t you do a YouTube search of George Bush and see all the idiotic mistakes he made. Yes Obama made a mistake about the 50 states but he is actually an intelligent man, something we cannot say about George Bush

            1. True, different opinions don’t make you a racist. However, spouting lies that President Obama hates white people and was born in another country while participating in rallies against Obama with signs showing Obama with monkey lips or dressed as Hilter is racist.

            1. Dzoolander did counter Now, Now’s argument.

              Obama and Bush have both said plenty of incredibly stupid things, so you can’t go around saying “HA HA! LOOK AT THE STUPID SHIT OBAMA SAID!” as if his predecessor never said shit that was just as stupid.

              The whole “ur a racist!!1” thing did come out of nowhere, though. Now, Now is probably just an RNC shill and/or a blind partisan operating with his brain turned off. Which may also ironically describe Dzoolander(the partisan part, not the RNC shill part).

          1. Dzoolander just did what the left claims the right does – that is, name calling. You hypocrites.

            Seems every grown-up knows every one makes mistakes. So when is progressiveagentprovocateur going to grow up?

            You’re all babies.

            1. Claims? Many in the right have made careers out of name calling, labeling, and sound bites. There is no contest in this one. The left can lay claim to worst use of majority power in modern history. The left also has an unfortunate tendency to spout verbiage that promotes class warfare and socioeconomic friction. Neither extreme is correct.

              Considering only the last seven U.S. Presidents (the ones that I personally remember), Bush wins hands down for saying stupid things, even if you normalize it on an annual basis. But Obama has made quite a few unforced verbal errors over the past two years. I expected much better.

            2. @kingmel

              “Bush wins hands down for saying stupid things…”

              Contrary to the immature people that are spouting off here, I would much rather have a president that leads and does the right things than be concerned about verbal slips.

        2. Seems like you have never listened to Obama speak extemporaneously. To honestly believe that this man did not know how many states are in America is to be completely poisoned by partisan politics.

          There are several clips on YouTube that were made during the election campaign, in which you can see Obama saying some incoherent thoughts. His own explanation for them was that those were said on the tail end of a multi-day stretch of campaigning without much (if any) sleep. Now, I’m not an American, and don’t believe I’ve been poisoned by the American partisan politics, but I have heard the guy speak spontaneously on several occasions and to me, I’m fine with his explanation. Now, his predecessor, on the other hand, was world famous for mangling the English language and displaying thorough cluelessness about some quite important issues when talking without a script. When you strip out political partisanship, there is no doubt about major difference between the two when it comes to general intelligence and knowledge of world (and domestic) affairs.

          As for the legacy of their presidencies, history will have to show in the end how each fared.

          1. Have to agree with Predrag, and even expand it to include pretty much all presidents. Does anyone really think that only Bush 2 and Obama have misspoken during speeches? Heck, no politician today at the national level even writes their own speeches anymore.

            All this hard-core liberal and conservative rhetoric is getting really old. From Olberman to Beck, these guys are going way too far, IMO. Sean Hannity spent a week bitching about how Obama mispronounced “corpsman” several times in one speech. So what? I don’t like Obama, but he made a pronunciation error. Big freakin’ deal.

            What I have a problem with is that both sides scream bloody murder when someone on the other makes an error, but conveniently ignores when someone on their side makes a similar error. Too bad we can’t get some talking heads who aren’t partisan and who will call out any official based on policies and actions.

      2. “progressive” should recall that Obama referenced visiting all “57 states” during the campaign, and later as President that in Austria they speak “Austrian”. Self-styled “progressives” repeatedly cut him the slack because, well, he’s one of their own.

        1. Nothing like taking a statement out of context. There are 50 states, DC, 5 territories, and Democrats Abroad for a total of 57 geographical entities who send delegates to Democratic National Convention. But it’s so much more fun to repeat the Rush Limbaugh distortion than to understand the facts in the statement.

      1. He is none of things, including “tall.” I’d be very comfortable with him as president. Senator is fine. I cannot say the same about any Republican or tea bagger. At least, not unless I got a lobotomy. Via surgery or alcohol…

    2. Wow! First time I’ve had to look up a word used here on MDN. Lahar. Great word and perfect application. Now it’s in my vocabulary. In my intellectual defense, I live in rural Ohio – not many lahars here, at least not recently. Not that many intellectuals here either, but that’s another story.

        1. Just right-click any word and you’ll go even faster!

          Also, in Dictionary>Preferences, choose Contextual menu: “Opens Dictionary panel” for even more speed.

          1. I think I’ll just stick to Cmd + Space, because it can also do math, launch apps, and find files. You just can’t beat the simplicity of one magic keyboard command that does everything.

  1. It’s a real disgrace that the evil Google has completely turned its back on Net Neutrality and Internet openness, which is the VERY THING that allowed them to rise to such prominence.

    Without net neutrality, Google would be NOWHERE today and they know it. Which is one of the many reasons why Google wants to SHUT DOWN THE INTERNET NOW, so nobody in the future can ever threaten their position at the top of the search world.

    Verizon and the other telecommunication companies have LONG tried to screw over the consumer, so this is no surprise coming from them.

    Make no mistake: These corporations are paying billions of dollars to politicians in hopes of turning the Internet into cable television: a censored medium that is controlled by a few rich elite players, that the rest of us have to sit back and passively watch.

    1. Did you happen to see the Netflix charts?
      Believe me, that is not what ‘big cable’ wants.

      And the more one ISP tries to control access, the quicker another market will open up for greater access.
      That is why phone service is so cheap now.

  2. Great, more PoliTard baiting at MDN.

    But no matter the political party, I have to agree that the entire point is to: LEAVE THE INTERNET ALONE.

    I also have to agree that Franken’s use of language is FUD inducing, a propagandist tactic. Why is the USA in general so enthralled by BAD MARKETING strategies? This very much is The Marketing Moron Era. Just talk facts folks. I’m not interested in buying any BS today. Sorry. :p

    1. The reason is simple: Bubba can’t handle anything more than a sound-bite. And he certainly can’t process and sort facts. Just look at how much damage Sarah’s phony “death panel” claims caused. And Bachmann’s a gem; her “The big thing we are working on now is the global warming hoax. It’s all voodoo, nonsense, hokum, a hoax.” is a recurring theme among those who can’t or won’t understand the data.

  3. Net neutrality is absolutely vital for the Internet. Otherwise it would be a AOL 2.0 kindergarten. Only huge companies will be able to afford to pay for traffic priority. Everything else will crawl through the net, using the left-over bandwidth. Which in turn means that only mainstream opinions and “plastic” stuff will survive. The web would shrink to FaceBook, YouTube and Twitter. Roughly. That’s no longer an internet. Money will decide, not ideas, innovation and creativity what will survive, be popular and be readily available at acceptable speeds. The spirit of the internet is/was that everyone is/can be consumer AND producer at the same time. That everyone can publish. That idea will perish and thus the internet itself. It would be reduced to just consumerism. A mall with preselected content and everyone that doesn’t pay will be thrown out and must linger on the parking lot.

    Preserve the net neutrality. Preserve the internet. Preserve YOUR rights. Preserve YOUR freedom.

      1. 1. In case your accusation would be right, it would be Ms. False Paradigm.

        2. It’s reality, not false paradigm. Believing everything will sort out and the holy market that never fails (emmm… wait…what?) will sort out everything is naive and shortsighted.

          1. Hey Being… I’m MORE than happy to agree with you that government officials are NOT immune to monetary concerns…but really, they should be. In a representative democracy, they SHOULD be beholden to the people who elected them, not the corporations who paid for their campaign. Sadly, it’s the latter not the former which governs us today.

            I’m not a big fan of government regulation, but the known quantity of self-regulation has gotten to where we are now, and threatens to take us farther down this very dark road. Letting the government regulate such an important asset as the internet seems to be the lessor of two evils, but really, not by very much.

            1. By your own logic the government/politicians is/are owned by corporations. You readily admit that they more often serve the corporate desires over the peoples.

              Now you want this same body to regulate? For whom? It has been proven and demonstrated many times over they will often enact regulations that pander to specific corporate desires, often to the detriment of the consumer or “THE PEOPLE”.

              How can you reason this to be a good idea, given your earlier conclusion?

          2. 1. I hate most politicians as anyone else. BUT anyone believing that companies are more benign, less greedy and cares more about people than government is nuts. Lunatic beyond hope.

            2. Who cares if the money comes from GE??? What he does and says, what he stands for is much more important. BTW : Source?

            3. Given the choice who to trust, companies or government, the choice is clear. Government. At least the government has been elected and can be voted down. Ever tried to vote down a CEO???

            4. Net neutrality was proposed by the FCC, not directly by the government who voted against it. (mostly by republican sheep who obey to the companies)

            1. Killer cat, you are letting your desire for something to be true stand in the way of reason.

              Government is RUN by those same politicians you hate. If they are bad enough to hate, how do they make decisions that are good for your welfare?

              If you think they are concerned with anything more than: Power, Money, Fame, you sir are the lunatic.

              Our government through it’s various retirement plans and investment portfolios is the largest holder of stocks in those big evil corporations. Why do you think the bailouts really happened. “Too Big to Fail” yeah OK..

              Suggested viewing: the Corporation Nation

  4. As a long time web user, the party has been over for quite sometime… just no one has told the public yet.

    The USA has some of the highest access prices for the slowest speeds, making the US lags far behind the rest of the world.

    HONG KONG residents can enjoy astoundingly fast broadband at an astoundingly low price. It became available last year, when a scrappy company called Hong Kong Broadband Network introduced a new option for its fiber-to-the-home service: a speed of 1,000 megabits a second — known as a “gig” — for less than $26 a month.

    In the United States, we don’t have anything close to that. But we could. And we should.

    Verizon, the nation’s leading provider of fiber-to-the-home service, doesn’t offer a gig, or even half that speed. Instead, it markets a “fastest” service that is only 50 megabits a second for downloading and 20 megabits a second for uploading. It costs $144.99 a month. That’s one-twentieth the speed of Hong Kong Broadband’s service for downloading, for more than five times the price.

    Sad, but true.

      1. Except of course that Verizon’s fiber coverage is much, much, MUCH less than the entirety of the United States, which pretty much makes it a very valid comparison.

        Yes, the US is a very large country, but now where.. NO WHERE do we have internet speeds and prices as in Hong Kong. And that my friend has nothing to do with how many square miles we do or don’t have.

    1. It’s not just Hong Kong. S. Korea has the entire country covered with wireless broadband that is faster than the average wired broadband residential connection in the US.
      P.S. I know Korea is smaller than the US, so there is no need to post the area of the US vs S. Korea.
      The US has shitty service because our regulators are captive to the industry they are supposed to oversee, our pols are bought and paid for and the average consumer is about as aware of what’s going on as the couch cushions in my living room.

      1. You sir, hit the nail on the head.

        “The US has shitty service because our regulators are captive to the industry they are supposed to oversee, our pols are bought and paid for and the average consumer is about as aware of what’s going on as the couch cushions in my living room.”

    2. Looking at other countries is a good thing, the US needs to do it more, to see what has and has not worked.  They can be the beta testers.  Is there other countries that have something like Net Neutrality? I do not know that answer, but I would look at Europe.  

      The cable industry got to be monopolies BECAUSE of the government, local ones.  They made deals to be the only ones in an area.  We have a choice between Comcast and Verizon where I live because Verizon already had a monopoly on the phone lines.  If you don’t believe in NN because of big government regulations, than force the local governments to start allowing other people to put in fiber lines.  We have a company that wants provide us with Hong Kong speeds, but they can’t.  This would make NN unnecessary, until then the Government should control what ISP’s do because they demand to be a monopoly.

  5. The fears of a non-neutral net are the same or similar to those when Microsoft’s IE just about owned the browser space & I would contend that they are legitimate. A monopoly or oligopoly controlling access to the internet will result in higher prices for a lower quality and slower developing internet.
    The big ISP’s directly and through their lobbying and trade association are even opposing community based ISP’s that seek to build broadband in places and communities that they choose NOT TO SERVE. Otherwise, they are afraid of people seeing what is possible once the greed, graft and grift is removed from the equation.
    I stand on the side of choice and competition- not oligopoly and crony capitalism. If an unserved community or publicly owned utility seeks to extend broadband service into communities and areas that the big boys think beneath them they should be free to do so. Comcast, Time-Warner Cable, Cox Communications, AT&T, Verizon, Cablevision and others think that they should be the final arbiters of what service you should get, under what terms you should get it and be locked to their service.
    I am a liberal/progressive and have no problem with free market capitalism, the profit motive or allowing true innovators to profit from the fruits of their labor & investment. What the Telcos and Cable Companies want is digital serfdom, where they have divided up the country and decided what you can get and how much you will overpay for it. They have spent billions lobbying everything from local councils to the Congress and in court suing anyone who tries to intrude on their party. That’s not a free market- that is crony capitalism.

    1. “They have spent billions lobbying everything from local councils to the Congress and in court suing anyone who tries to intrude on their party. That’s not a free market- that is crony capitalism.”

      Excuse me, that is corrupt politics, not crony capitalism.

      Straighten out your blinders.

  6. If ISP’s want to charge higher prices for their services, fine. If they want to tier off data usage into different price points. Fine. I’ve got no problem with that.

    What I do have a problem with is the ISP’s charging extra for access to the content someone else is providing (Netflix or even something like Facebook). They add no value to their service byt doing this, just more profit for them with less effort. Broadband in this country is already a joke as far as quality goes. Now they want to partition off and sell bits to you depending on where its coming from? No thanks.

    All bits should be treated equally. Hands off my content.

    Oh yeah and then theres BS like this:

    1. Yes, perfect example of how they favor the corporation over the man.

      SO now I have to pay so much for internet because I used NetFlix (an awesome, affordable service) and my telco doesn’t like it and they use piracy as the excuse to cap and gouge me.

      It’s like saying because of DUI repeat offenders, we should all have a breathalyzer controlled ignition.

  7. “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.”

    What competitive market? I live in SoCal. I have the choice of 1 cable company or 1 DSL-phone company. That’s not competition. If they both start to charge based on content, where do I go for my competition. Where do I go for 25mb internet service? Top here is “up to” 15, which is 6-7 90% of the time. Can’t tell me that’s because of the “market” demands.

    We’ve created monopolies by protecting these companies from the the normal operations of a competitive market. Tax credits, tax subsidies, exemptions from legal responsibility for many of their actions…

    This isn’t competition. This isn’t a free market forces shaping the market place. It’s a totally controlled market for the benefit of the companies that control it.

    1. If you’re so dissatisfied why don’t you start your own ISP with the services you desire? Obviously you have studied the competition, recognize the gap in services currently offered, and feel you could meet the need of others like yourself. What’s stopping you?

      1. I hate to tell you, but starting an ISP with any kind of bandwidth, without using the lines already owned by the Cable/Telecos, is really very difficult. Do you have any idea of the costs involved? And the Telecos/Cable companies will never again let a forced “competition” get in there way. I remember the breakup of the original ATT. What did we get? Somewhat lower prices. Soon after that? Consolidation back into enormous Telecos. Why? Follow the money, Lebowski.

        What should happen is the pipes be democratized and the providers allowed to provide service and compete. Kind of like wireless in Europe.

    1. Yes Minnesorta, please send more brilliant wizards like Al to the US senate. He really understands exactly what the foundation of this society was built on: massive regulations that would prevent evil greedy corporations from harming poor little citizens. How did the Internet ever get started without being regulated in the first place? Someone should have regulated it into existence!

      1. The antecedent of the Internet was DARPANet- a project of the Department of Defense. For those who cannot connect the dots, that would be a FEDERAL program entirely funded by the public.
        When DoD didn’t need it anymore some members of Congress, including then Representative (later Senator) Al Gore proposed that it should be transferred to academia instead of being shut down. Congress passed this and it became the foundation of the Internet.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.