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Mike McCurry, co-chairman of Hands off the Internet, a coalition of telecommunication-related businesses, and Ben Scott, policy director of the nonpartisan public interest organization Free Press and representative of SaveTheInternet.com, answered these question as a start to their post-broadcast discussion.

(Please remember to refresh often to see new posts, and note that you may need to preview your message in order for it to post to the discussion.)

1. Last year, the FCC eliminated the net neutrality rules and replaced them with principles. To date, what have been the real world consequences of that action? And what are the potential long term consequences of that action?

Mike McCurry responds:

That’s a good question because from the consumers’ perspective, the real-world consequence has been: Absolutely nothing. Zero. Zilch. That’s why these black-helicopter scenarios from neutrality advocates that “sometime in the future” there might be different levels of service on the Net are so questionable.

Look, let’s remember that consumers still enjoy vast legal protections to access the content of their choice. First, the FCC has put forward four principles for online neutrality and all the major broadband providers have pledged to uphold them. Second, you also have state and federal laws against things like tortuous interference, unfair competition and antitrust. And finally, you have the FCC itself saying that if there is discrimination against consumers, it has authority to take action.

In fairness to Bill Moyers, someone I admire greatly, that is why regulation of the public Internet is totally unlike the railroads and oil pipelines of the 19th century – we have anti-trust protections and government regulatory bodies like the FCC that we did not have then.

As a Democrat, I am the first to insist that we use the tool of government when needed but I think we proved in the 1990s that we are better off when we use that tool wisely. The advocates of the first major government regulation of the internet – those who want mandated net neutrality – are unwilling to consider the unforeseen consequences of asking the federal government to come in to regulate the infrastructure of the internet.

That’s why this neutrality regulation debate misses the point for most consumers. America is ranked between 12th and 19th in the world in terms of access to high-speed Internet services, depending on the survey. That low ranking is partly because we still try to apply the 20th century regulations governing telephony to the internet. The advocates of net neutrality are trying to put the rules that governed telephones on to the web. That ought to make everyone think twice. We ought to be focused on doing everything possible to encourage more, and more affordable, broadband deployment and to allow technology to prosper and advance and make the operations of networks more efficient.

Even the advocates of net neutrality, like Ben Scott, cannot tell us what it is – precisely. And I mean “precisely.” Because if we passed the legislation pending in Congress about net neutrality, armies of lawyers and lobbyists ON BOTH SIDES would spend the next 3-5 years trying to make sense of the rulemaking at the FCC’s new “Broadband Bureau” about what constitutes discrimination and degradation of service. Meanwhile, we won’t be making the investments that will give us the Internet that we need to handle the bandwith requirements that are just on the horizon.

Ben Scott responds:

Thanks for inviting me to this discussion. The elimination of Net Neutrality in the summer of 2005 started a major debate over the future of the Internet. Since then, more than a million citizens have come to the defense of the free and open Internet. Millions more may be learning about Net Neutrality for the first time tonight. Hopefully it's the start of a much broader conversation on these crucial issues.

The Internet has always been a neutral platform for communications and commerce. The only reason that we have not seen significant changes yet is that we’re in the middle of a major political battle over this issue; the phone and cable companies have been on their best behavior. But we should all listen very carefully to what their own executives are saying about their plans for the future of the Internet.

If left unchecked, network owners like AT&T, Verizon, BellSouth and Comcast will destroy the greatest engine for democratic participation and economic innovation the world has ever known. This is not speculation. They have told us so, time and again.

The CEOs of the major telephone companies declared in the pages of Business Week, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal that they intend to discriminate and create a new business model that transfers value and control over Internet content into their hands. The manufacturers who sell them equipment have already built the software and electronics that will make network discrimination a reality.

In December 2005, the Washington Post reported that William Smith, CTO of BellSouth “told reporters and analysts that an Internet service provider such as his firm should be able, for example, to charge Yahoo Inc. for the opportunity to have its search site load faster than that of Google Inc.” But they won’t stop with Google and Yahoo. They will translate this logic of discrimination onto every Web site on the Internet. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has publicly declared that he has no problem with this, and that his rules won’t stop them..

The phone and cable companies are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on Washington lobbyists, campaign contributions and PR firms in that Congress will give them the green light to trash the longstanding Net Neutrality principles that have made the Internet what it is today.

The networks claim they would never discriminate against content. Yet they don’t want to see discrimination made illegal. If they aren’t going to block or degrade content, why should they care about regulations? All we’re asking for the return of what we’ve always had— the basic protections for consumers that have always governed the Internet.


2. There’s been a lot of discussion about the potential of the Internet—for business, for communication, for democracy. What effect will the outcome of the net neutrality debate in Washington have on that potential?


Mike McCurry responds:

I think the best answer to this question came from the president of America’s largest communications union. Last May, Larry Cohen, who heads the 700,000-member Communications Workers of America, wrote to Congress in strong opposition to neutrality regulations. He said that if these regulations became law, “investment in the physical infrastructure necessary to provide high-speed Internet will slow down, the U.S. will fall even further behind the rest of the world, and our rural and low-income populations will wait even longer to enter the digital age.” (emphasis mine)

Step back a moment: Cohen represents hundreds of thousands of working men and women who are literally on the front lines of this issue. They know what they’re talking about. So when he says that these neutrality regulations “would delay job-creating high-speed network deployment to the home,” you have to take him seriously.

“Regulating Net equality” may sound nice as a banner, but when you look at its practical effect, you’ll realize pretty quickly that in the real world it makes no sense. Ask yourself: Should Net users who pay $9.95 a month for ESPN films have to contend with a slower connection because others are using BitTorrent to illegally download “The Legend of Ricky Bobby”?


Ben Scott responds:


Net Neutrality protects two fundamental American values: free speech and the free market.

These two values have united the massive coalition of political organizations and businesses that support Net Neutrality.

The reason is simple. A neutral Internet is a network without barriers to entry, without gatekeepers, and without discrimination of any kind. It is open to anyone with a good idea to build an audience or sell a product. We have seen the brilliant success of this model throughout the short history of the Internet. We want to see this success continue.

Eliminating Net Neutrality will undermine innovation, investment and competition. In the words of Internet architect Vint Cerf, the Internet allows “innovation without permission.” Remember that the name Internet brands of today were just “good ideas in garages” a decade ago.

College kids created Google. A hobbyist conceived the idea for eBay. A teenager wrote the code for Instant Messaging. Some of the most popular sites on the Internet right now — MySpace, FaceBook, YouTube — didn’t exist three years ago. None of them would have emerged without Net Neutrality.

This technological revolution keeps turning because the Internet is an unrestricted free marketplace of ideas where innovators rise and fall on their merits. How is it possible that a small group of bloggers, many without a single journalism class, have a combined audience larger than the readership of the New York Times? How is it possible that a company like YouTube could reach so many millions of viewers in 18 months that Google buys them for $1.6 billion? These success stories will only happen on an Internet that is neutral.

The open Internet has proven that the best ideas rarely come from those with the deepest pockets. The network owners want to stifle that creativity by tossing aside Net Neutrality. Imagine the Internet without Network Neutrality. How many venture capitalists would embrace a business plan if the first line reads: “Strike a favorable deal with AT&T”? The engine of ideas and innovation will grind to a halt. The economic cost to the country—say nothing of the democratic costs—would be enormous.


3. Both those in favor of and those against net neutrality regulation argue that they have the best interest of the consumer in mind. Explain why you believe that net neutrality will or will not benefit Internet users.


Mick McCurry responds:


First, it’s unfortunately evident that millions of consumers are already worse off. This “neutrality” debate has stopped progress on legislation in Congress: reform of our outdated cable franchise laws. This issue has support from everyone from Consumers Union to the American Conservative Union. Small wonder: In areas that have more video competition, prices dropped between 28 and 42 percent (Bank of America report, 2006). The bill that is being held hostage by advocates of net neutrality would make it much cheaper, in most parts of the US, to get video services into the home via the Internet. Sooner or later the Netroots will realize they are getting screwed by big company lobbyists on “their” side of the this issue that are holding up pro-consumer reforms.

So the very real benefits that tens of millions of consumers could see every month in lower cable bills have taken a backseat to a “problem” that even advocates admit is not happening anywhere!

From a long-term perspective, the real loser from neutrality regulations will be ordinary Net users. They’ll wind up paying higher access fees because Google, Amazon, eBay and other huge consumers of bandwidth will have a legal loophole to avoid paying for what they consume. Having gamed the system, these companies will be able to push their costs onto Net users.

With broadband roll-out costing $40+ billion, consumers beware!


Ben Scott responds:


The debate over Network Neutrality is, at its base, a decision about who will control the Internet — consumers and content creators in a competitive marketplace, or network owners in an anti-competitive marketplace?

The end of Network Neutrality would mean fundamental, negative changes to the Internet. That’s why every major consumer organization in the nation – Consumers Union, Consumer Federation, U.S. PIRG, etc. -- is publicly committed to meaningful and enforceable Network Neutrality. That means no discrimination against any content based on its ownership or source.

Permitting content discrimination on the Internet for the first time would be a disaster for consumers. On the neutral Internet, consumers have ALL the control over an unlimited selection of content. Giving the network owners gatekeeper control over content takes the decisions away from millions of users and puts it in the hands of a small cartel of telecom executives.

Who will end up in the slow lane? Anyone without the cash or the connections to negotiate fast-lane deals with AT&T or Comcast. Basically, anyone that lacks deep pockets will be pushed aside.

Consumers should choose winners and losers in the content marketplace based on the merits of a Web site or service. Without Net Neutrality the network owners have a strong financial incentive to undermine the free market and overcharge everyone. Any economics 101 student will tell you that a scarcity of choice leads to higher prices for goods. Do you really trust these companies to look after your best interests?

It is virtually impossible to spin this as something positive, though I'm sure our able-penned friend Mr. McCurry will do his best.

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Comments

1. Last year, the FCC eliminated the net neutrality rules and replaced them with principles. To date, what have been the real world consequences of that action? And what are the potential long term consequences of that action?

Thanks for inviting me to this discussion. The elimination of Net Neutrality in the summer of 2005 started a major debate over the future of the Internet. Since then, more than a million citizens have come to the defense of the free and open Internet. Millions more may be learning about Net Neutrality for the first time tonight. Hopefully it's the start of a much broader conversation on these crucial issues.

The Internet has always been a neutral platform for communications and commerce. The only reason that we have not seen significant changes yet is that we’re in the middle of a major political battle over this issue; the phone and cable companies have been on their best behavior. But we should all listen very carefully to what their own executives are saying about their plans for the future of the Internet.

If left unchecked, network owners like AT&T, Verizon, BellSouth and Comcast will destroy the greatest engine for democratic participation and economic innovation the world has ever known. This is not speculation. They have told us so, time and again.

The CEOs of the major telephone companies declared in the pages of Business Week, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal that they intend to discriminate and create a new business model that transfers value and control over Internet content into their hands. The manufacturers who sell them equipment have already built the software and electronics that will make network discrimination a reality.

In December 2005, the Washington Post reported that William Smith, CTO of BellSouth “told reporters and analysts that an Internet service provider such as his firm should be able, for example, to charge Yahoo Inc. for the opportunity to have its search site load faster than that of Google Inc.” But they won’t stop with Google and Yahoo. They will translate this logic of discrimination onto every Web site on the Internet. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has publicly declared that he has no problem with this, and that his rules won’t stop them.

The phone and cable companies are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on Washington lobbyists, campaign contributions and PR firms in that Congress will give them the green light to trash the longstanding Net Neutrality principles that have made the Internet what it is today.

The networks claim they would never discriminate against content. Yet they don’t want to see discrimination made illegal. If they aren’t going to block or degrade content, why should they care about regulations? All we’re asking for the return of what we’ve always had— the basic protections for consumers that have always governed the Internet.


2. There’s been a lot of discussion about the potential of the Internet — for business, for communication, for democracy. What effect will the outcome of the net neutrality debate in Washington have on that potential?

Net Neutrality protects two fundamental American values: free speech and the free market.

These two values have united the massive coalition of political organizations and businesses that support Net Neutrality.

The reason is simple. A neutral Internet is a network without barriers to entry, without gatekeepers, and without discrimination of any kind. It is open to anyone with a good idea to build an audience or sell a product. We have seen the brilliant success of this model throughout the short history of the Internet. We want to see this success continue.

Eliminating Net Neutrality will undermine innovation, investment and competition. In the words of Internet architect Vint Cerf, the Internet allows “innovation without permission.” Remember that the name Internet brands of today were just “good ideas in garages” a decade ago.

College kids created Google. A hobbyist conceived the idea for eBay. A teenager wrote the code for Instant Messaging. Some of the most popular sites on the Internet right now — MySpace, FaceBook, YouTube — didn’t exist three years ago. None of them would have emerged without Net Neutrality.

This technological revolution keeps turning because the Internet is an unrestricted free marketplace of ideas where innovators rise and fall on their merits. How is it possible that a small group of bloggers, many without a single journalism class, have a combined audience larger than the readership of the New York Times? How is it possible that a company like YouTube could reach so many millions of viewers in 18 months that Google buys them for $1.6 billion? These success stories will only happen on an Internet that is neutral.

The open Internet has proven that the best ideas rarely come from those with the deepest pockets. The network owners want to stifle that creativity by tossing aside Net Neutrality. Imagine the Internet without Network Neutrality. How many venture capitalists would embrace a business plan if the first line reads: “Strike a favorable deal with AT&T”? The engine of ideas and innovation will grind to a halt. The economic cost to the country—say nothing of the democratic costs—would be enormous.

3. Both those in favor of and those against net neutrality regulation argue that they have the best interest of the consumer in mind. Explain why you believe that net neutrality will or will not benefit Internet users.

The debate over Network Neutrality is, at its base, a decision about who will control the Internet — consumers and content creators in a competitive marketplace, or network owners in an anti-competitive marketplace?/

The end of Network Neutrality would mean fundamental, negative changes to the Internet. That’s why every major consumer organization in the nation – Consumers Union, Consumer Federation, U.S. PIRG, etc. -- is publicly committed to meaningful and enforceable Network Neutrality. That means no discrimination against any content based on its ownership or source.

Permitting content discrimination on the Internet for the first time would be a disaster for consumers. On the neutral Internet, consumers have ALL the control over an unlimited selection of content. Giving the network owners gatekeeper control over content takes the decisions away from millions of users and puts it in the hands of a small cartel of telecom executives.

Who will end up in the slow lane? Anyone without the cash or the connections to negotiate fast-lane deals with AT&T or Comcast. Basically, anyone that lacks deep pockets will be pushed aside.

Consumers should choose winners and losers in the content marketplace based on the merits of a Web site or service. Without Net Neutrality the network owners have a strong financial incentive to undermine the free market and overcharge everyone. Any economics 101 student will tell you that a scarcity of choice leads to higher prices for goods. Do you really trust these companies to look after your best interests?

It is virtually impossible to spin this as something positive, though I'm sure our able-penned friend Mr. McCurry will do his best.


Net Neutrality should be defended at all costs. Big telecommunication companies just want more money and this is their number one plan. I know that sites like mine (www.ghandiburger.com - isn't finished, cut me some slack!) would be the first to go. A world without Wikipedia or YouTube or Blogger gives me the chills...

I'm against onerous government regulation and think a competitive market can do a much better job of keeping the 'Net democratic than any bureaucrat can. But a free market isn't necessarily a competitive one. How competitive is the broadband / ISP market today? Are there a lot of choices, or do most people only have a few options?

Just watched the show and was very happy to see something about this issue on television... This issue must be raised as load as possible in as many venues as possible...

I am also trying to get the word out as best as I can: http://www.savenetneutrality.com

Fantastic program! Thanks for doing such good work.

This is a very important dialogue. Unless local broadcast opportunities continue their presence, local communities like ours in the southern tier of NY state have no voice for our culture

What can one very concerned citizen do to stop this? The media MUST remain free and open to all people and all opinions. It is especially important at this time of madness in our country.

I am poor, so I can't contribute money. I don't have a car, so I can't get out and go to meetings, but I am very concerned, and I want us to have an open, democratic society, where all opinions can be expressed and are available to everyone, and where the media are available to the populace.

Please tell me. What can I do? How can I help?

Sincerely,

Lyn Miner
Columbia Heights, Minnesota
xquill@yahoo.com

How can anyone stop legislators from railroading this type of legislation through when the very people who have benefitied from it (Mainstream media)keep it a secret from and distort the truth to the public that would oppose it. I don't mean to make it sound hopeless, but it is. The best we can hope for is a complete change of Congress

According to retired Secretary of the Navy J Lehman, as reported to The New York Sun's Liz Peek approximately two weeks ago, Homeland Security in the greater NYC area, although now known to be the best in the nation, badly needs access to radio waves that are not accessible due to big media. Although this is off the main focal points of the Bill Moyers program just aired in NY, it is directly related.

McCurry says that competition has lowered prices 20 to 40% -- so why, if he favors competition so much, are the people who have hired him trying to merge AT&T and BellSouth? Doesn't this merger, and the merger before that, and the merger before that, decrease competition? If there were hundreds of choices of who'd provide my Internet connection, I'd be less concerned, but there's only one, or two. So competition is not working!

Oh, by the way, Moore's Law alone would decrease prices by 50% every 18 months in a truly free market.

Yes I think that the internet allows us freedom of speach ,now if we were at a debate and only the guys that were allowed to enter who paid the one million dollar fee to ask questions than about 99% of America would be out in the cold like they are now in big media so the real problems facing americans would not be heard only the messages of the dictators that control what we see and hear. this is monopoly at its finest. P.S every time theres an election and the republicans think its a tight race theres always a terror scare. Ithink this is all bs with the football games coming up this is exactly what i mean.

Eliminating Net Neutrality may indeed spru broadband investment/rollout. Is that what countries like South Korea and Japan have done to have such remarkable service and penetration, or have they found a way to promote high-speed Internet without allowing discriminatory behavior?

Great show, I found it very informative and interesting. I am very worried about the big corporations taking control of the internet. It has been a wonderful place where anyone, no matter who or what they are, could share. This would change if the big companies have their way.

Public involvement does work. In the six months since the SavetheInternet.com Coalition was launched, millions of Americans have joined the campaign, spoken out for Internet freedom and put Congress and the phone companies on notice.

This grassroots movement barely existed at the beginning of 2006. Now we’re on the verge of toppling one of the most powerful lobbies in Washington.

The reason for our success? Organized and overwhelming public support for a free and open Internet. If Congress can’t pass a communications bill in 2006, it will have to start over in January. It’s possible that we will have a House and Senate that are more sympathetic to Net Neutrality. But don’t expect the phone companies to simply roll over in 2007.

If we hold out against the phone companies until 2007, we’ll have scored a victory of historic proportions.

Thanks for a good show. (It's remarkable the foresight of Hermann and Chomsky). The march of media consolidation is very threatening.

Please help us all know the numbers of Congressional bill or bills that would end internet neutrality.

Who are its friends and its opponents in Congress?

Thanks Bill for a burning issue so well handled.

As the owner of a small, home-based web design and graphic art company, I have a vested interest in being as accessible and affordable to as many people as possible. I fear the proposed toll road and fast lane will shut out a lot of people who need to get their message out. There needs to be people offering more access to the Internet, whether it is actual access or access in the form of affordable web design and hosting. Our entire economy will suffer if the large companies get control of the Internet.

The scoundrels you depicted make the Robber Barons look like pikers. They should be indicted for theft of public property: the airwaves, phone systems and cable operations and tried under the RICO statutes. The unbridled rapaciousness of those corporations and the collusion of SEC,FCC and practically every government department that has betrayed our trust is disgusting beyond contempt. Is this what our founding fathers envisioned for us???

Eliminating Net Neutrality would undoubtedly spur broadband investment/rollout. Is that what countries like South Korea and Japan have done to have such remarkable service and penetration, or have they found a way to promote high-speed Internet without allowing discriminatory behavior?

Mick McCurry comments:

Those worried about losing a voice only need to worry about the lack of bandwith capacity if there is no broadband to carry things like the telemedicine applications we saw at the beginning. That won't happen unless telcomms invest billions in upgrading their pipes. How do we propose to pay for that? Someone must. If you argue that the public needs a critical infrastructure like a high-speed internet, then have the courage to say it should be a public good, public built and regulated like a utility. That's what this program argues. Who on Bill Moyers' team is willing to stand up and put a public price and a revenue solution to that argument?
--Mike McCurry

Ben Scott comments:

It is great to see everyone posting this evening.

For folks who want more information, let me invite you to check out two websites: www.savetheinternet.com for Net Neutrality information and www.stopbigmedia.com for information about media ownership.

Inside myself, I'm losing hope for the future of our nation. Every activity of human interaction has become another avenue for commerce. We talk to each other...and someone sees our conversation as an exploitable market. The buring question for corporate
America is comtroll the financial flow. Jesus mada a statement regarding God & money... one must either love the one and hate the other or...well you probably know the rest.

One of the critical take aways I hope people get from this is how powerful citizens have become against "the powers that be."

While nearly 15 states passed laws before 2005 to stop local government from building broadband networks, only one state passed such a law in 2005. OTOH, the 14 other states in 2005 that considered banning municipal networks rejected the idea.

Why? Because people stood up and let their elected representatives know it would cost them to vote against muni networks.

We beat these guys last year. We can go on beating them this year. And next year.

In response to Karen, the broadcast bands are limited to (roughly) 88-108 MHZ for FM, and 540-1600 KHz for AM radio. The entire discussion on the show this evening centers around whether those stations should be owned by larger corporations or by local entities. This discussion has nothing to do with allocating other sections of the airwaves for first responders.

I feel sorry for Bill when he sits across from that phony Lou Dobbs on CNN from time to time. Bill must squirm in his seat when Dobbs starts preaching the opposite of what he practices on his show. Bill is an intellectual. Dobbs is a phony who is vefy clever at creating themes to sell his books.

While it was mentioned on the show it should be pointed out again. Net Neutrality is an issue of global importance for communication. The show concentrated on America's struggle with the issue but it reaches far beyond our own borders. The revolutionary aspect of what the web is has just begun. We should not let it be taken over by a handful of people whose only motive is profit. Thanks Bill and push PBS and Public Radio to do more to make this issue known.

Remember MediaOne? AT&T Local & Long Distance? AT&T Wireless?
AT&T tried to be a one-stop shop in the late 90's, buying up
seemingly everything in sight. Then, through their own
mismanagement, they failed miserably, selling off everything it
acquired, costing thousands of jobs until it was a mere shell of
itself. In comes Ed Whitacre to save the day, and POOF! 13,000
more jobs are gone (See Network World - 02-07-05 "What the AT&T
/ SBC deal means to you").

The whole purpose of the the Bell System divestiture in 1984 was
to encourage competition and break up a monopoly. Today, the
Bell System is almost completely whole again, with Verizon, AT&T
and Qwest owning the lion's share of the markets, selling voice,
data and long-distance services. In my neighborhood I have ZERO
choice of who my telephone carrier is. This merger of Bell South
and AT&T will only consolidate the market further for millions
more. They own almost all the CO switching for data and voice
and the "last mile" to virtually every home and business.

If the telcos and cablecos (the "broadcos") have their way with
network neutrality -- i.e., lack thereof -- the remonopolization
(or duopolization) will be worse than the old AT&T ever was,
because it will include not only transport but those
applications the broadcos choose to absorb as well. Thus, the
new monopolies will extend to the top of the protocol stack, not
just pertain to transport. The safeguards that might otherwise
still help (as limited in effectiveness as they always were, due
to ILEC truculence), like separate applications subsidiaries,
comparably efficient interconnection (open network
architecture), and the like, will be totally absent this time
around. In short, if the big players have their way on Net
Neutrality, then the entity that controls the loop is ALSO in a
position to control the applications and content users can
access.

And, the bigger they become the less responsive they become to
problems. Service has continued to degrade with each merger.

We've already seen broadcast media consolidated into a handful of companies from the 1996 Telecom Act. There are fewer voices and fewer choices out there now. When I worked in radio in the 80's there were no less than eight station owners in our market. Today, this market is dominated by Clear Channel and Infinity. Players like Radio One and Salem are relegated mostly to the AM dial. If Network Neutrality goes away, then the internet will be consolidated just like broadcast was in 1996. It will be a top-down model of control of information.

You all can go to http://www.savetheinternet.com/ to find out what bill may end net neutrality, see how your congressman stands, and learn more about keeping the internet open. There is also a petition there you can sign.

Wow! The AT&T, Verizon, Cable and Satellite TV broadcasters are paying millions to lobbyists and congress for my protection and to lower prices for me, the consumer. I'm so impressed. Please save net neutrality, the last stand for democracy.

I think that the bigger issue of global competitiveness gets lost while we focus on the left and right channels of the domestic debate. NOBODY can argue that neutrality doesn't influence that much bigger issue - where the US is behind most of the developed world. We ought to be ashamed of ourselves for letting politics get this far with such an important economic issue.

I think that the bigger issue of global competitiveness gets lost while we focus on the left and right channels of the domestic debate. NOBODY can argue that neutrality doesn't influence that much bigger issue - where the US is behind most of the developed world. We ought to be ashamed of ourselves for letting politics get this far with such an important economic issue.

McCurry says, "If you argue that the public needs a critical infrastructure like a high-speed internet, then have the courage to say it should be a public good, public built and regulated like a utility."

But this is exactly what Lafayette Louisiana tried to do, and the telephone companies stopped them. First the telcos asked for a vote, then when the people spoke, the telcos lost. Then the telcos sued the Lafayette fiber program over every comma and period in every relevant law. "Who on Moyers team?" McCurry asks. C'mon Mike, the public can't even act in its own good without the telcos fighting them at every turn.

In response to Mr. McCurry's call out I respond as thus. It has been argued that a fee will be imposed, yes. But what is to stop the controllers, (AT&T, etc.) to impose larger fees on sites whose content is unfavorable to them? That is why legislation must be passed allowing for net neutrality. If we all must pay the burden, let us pay it equally, with no bias toward those with deep pockets.

thank you for another informative show. I am very concerned about the issue of internet neutrality as I was about the issue of media consolidation which you reported on when it happened. I do call my congressioal representatives but it doesn't change the outcomes- the voting public had better send a strong message soon & if there is a lame duck session of Congress held PLEASE keep a spotlight on it!

I believe that maintaining net neutrality is both imperative for freedom's sake as well as from an economic perspective. Like McCurry mentioned, many of the fantastic innovations we enjoy on the internet came from startups that had little entry cost. Corporations don't innovate at the same rate as small businesses do. Market advancement many times comes in the way of mergers and not via innovation. It is clearly in both the consumer's and citizen's best interest to see net neutrality remain.

It is interesting that your programing brought up the railroad barrons, Let's take a look back in history. Visit Historic Speedwell Village in Morristown , New Jersey owned by the Vail family. It was there the telegraph was invented, and then that iron works invested in Philadelphia called Baldwin, Vail & Company that produced locomotives, the family also invested in the Erie Railroad. Would not you know that the person who went before Congress the first time to promote a better safer nation by installing a telephone in everyone's home is to have a monopoly, and he was the Grandson in this Vail Family. Now AT&T is going before Congress a second time to promote a better safer nation by installing wireless internet service in everyone's home, and the only way to do it is to have a monopoly again. But we are not going to fall for that trick again, however this time there is global competition.

Conservative Republicans in Lafayette, LA, have the courage to suggest high-speed is should be treated as a public utility. The public will is there; the political will is not (Thanks, Mike.)

Our acceptance of corporate greed fosters corporate arrogance. I hope this show has awakened and inspired - and caused millions more to understand the critical need for maintaining net neutrality. How do we speak truth to power without control of the medium?

Inspiring show! I did an analysis of Senate candidates' advertised positions regarding Net Neutrality. My discoveries are posted at
http://pagenotes.com/blogs/NetNeutrality.htm.

Then I looked for a good way to donate to candidates in tight campaigns who actively support Net Neutrality. Since all but one of the candidates were Democrats, I settled for an Act Blue page:
http://www.actblue.com/page/savetheinternet

I encourage everyone to use these pages as tools for active support. I also invite constructive feedback in helping me maintain the accuracy and utililty of these pages.

The right thing is to keep the Internet free with no restrictions. Why can't our government do the right thing? What are these lobbyists in congress doing? Aren't they just buying our government with money from their employers.

well i enjoyed the show but I feel if our american company lost out that there lost it just business.we need a law that makes people in offices accountable for there action person gains.how can we trust congress..because big company lobbys congress and paid to make a law is this right...the value of america, where is it

Not sure I have ever seen such a one-sided report. It just seems to me that Moyers and team came into this with a point of view and only included sound bites that suppported it. And then surrounded it with incendiary language.

I had hoped for a much more balanced report. Frankly, this report makes me think that there is a hidden danger to "net neutrality." If not, why promegate such a one-sided argument?

Ben Scott comments:


Let me take up this idea of how we should build out the Information Superhighway.

What the phone companies have proposed is a false choice—EITHER we scrap net neutrality OR else we’ll never have broadband deployed widely in America. That’s nonsense. The notion that we must sacrifice the free and open Internet in order to give monopolists and duopolists the incentive to build networks is the phone company’s biggest lie. We need more competition between companies that provide access to the Internet, not less competition between companies that offer content on the Internet.

There are many ways to build high-speed Internet networks out to the country. And unless corporate generosity takes an unprecedented turn for the better, it will always be consumers who pick up the tab. Either we’ll pay higher fees to network owners. Or we’ll pay high costs to content and service providers on the network. Or we’ll pay higher taxes to subsidize tax incentives and subsidies to build infrastructure. No one can seriously dispute this truth. Since consumers are paying one way or another, why on Earth would we sacrifice the free and open Internet to boot?

WRT to other countries like Japan and S. Korea that are currently whupping our butts in broadband. They did not eleiminate net neutrality. Just the opposite. They went even further. They mandated that their monopoly telco networks open their networks to competitors.

We used to do that. It was called "open access." We repealed that rule, so broadband ISP competition is dying and reducing down to the cable/telco duopoly.

In Europe, countries are adopting the rules we *used to have*, and are pulling ahead of us. France, the Neatherlands, Latvia, Estonia. In the last five years, these countries adopted the rules we had in the late 1990s that made us #1. Now they are getting high speed fiber cheap while we beg the cable cos and telcos for crumbs.

Mick McCurry comments:

To Mr. White: Many say that the reason we see other countries ahead of us in broadband deployment is that they are )1 free of the regulatory environment that inhibits investment in the U.S, telco infrastructure or 2) legacies of government owned public monopolies. I am interested in what advocates of net neutrality suggest is the answer.

I have been waiting impatiently for more of an opportunity to wade in on this issue. I live in TN the home of Bill Frist, leader of the pillage of anything that smacks of individual control. My local newspapers are very ideological and the only way I can find out local, or important news and happenings is through the internet. I don't shop at Wal Mart and I don't want to "shop" on the internet for prepackaged information.
The telephone and cable companies got all the tax breaks and price increases in the 1990's and did NOTHING for the consumer! Now they want more breaks to deliver what WE have ALREADY PAID FOR in the way of infrastructure. The fast lane and slow lane analogy is absolutely on target. Just like on our highways, the government does not regulate what is in the semi trucks or the cars, it should not now allow AOL, Verizon, the Bells and other cable and telephone companiew to tell me which truck I can or cannot get my groceries from.

But according to the program the telecoms should have invested in building out better fiber networks long ago, and they did not do it? Now they want to be paid again for something they should have already done.

The bottom line for me is that I started two companies based on the ability and atmosphere of non-competition. I would do anything to prevent the permanent loss of neutrality on the net. I wish I could do more.

If the cable companies and telecoms are so sure that they would not discriminate, let them include it in the new legislation, why the big fight to keep out.

I am against "ditching" network neutrality.

I feel that "big media" companies are getting MUCH, MUCH TOO BIG for their britches, and SHOULD be broken up (just like "Ma Bell" was back in 1984)!

If you need to find out who in Congress supports and opposes net neutrality, go to http://www.savetheinternet.com . They have a page giving you the 411 on the Senators & Congress peoples' stand on net neutrality.

I have been waiting impatiently for more of an opportunity to wade in on this issue. I live in TN the home of Bill Frist, leader of the pillage of anything that smacks of individual control. My local newspapers are very ideological and the only way I can find out local, or important news and happenings is through the internet. I don't shop at Wal Mart and I don't want to "shop" on the internet for prepackaged information.
The telephone and cable companies got all the tax breaks and price increases in the 1990's and did NOTHING for the consumer! Now they want more breaks to deliver what WE have ALREADY PAID FOR in the way of infrastructure. The fast lane and slow lane analogy is absolutely on target. Just like on our highways, the government does not regulate what is in the semi trucks or the cars, it should not now allow AOL, Verizon, the Bells and other cable and telephone companiew to tell me which truck I can or cannot get my groceries from.

You guys have to get that on Channel 2, 4, etc. A bunch of people I talked to said they would not watch it just because of the channel. They may not be the smartest people, but it is those people we must get the word out to.

While savetheinternet.com has done lots of work with their grassroots efforts, those "grassroots" efforts exist in DC. THANK YOU MOVEON. The reality is -- no one actually has any idea what they're talking about (at least thats what it seems like to me). I've been watching this debate (sort of - when i have i time)...I actually do care. Nothing makes any sense. Do these save the internet people really want the government to regulate the internet? really? is that a good idea?

Talking about how Google and other such companies have found a "loophole" in net neutrality is COMPLETE BS. Why? If I go out and spend more on gas then I GET CHARGED. If they are USING so much then CHARGE them more. It's painfully simple. If you set up a pricing system that doesn't support your industry, then YOU shot YOURSELF in your own foot.

And in terms of the no broadband boogie-man: if one company won't do it, then someone will. God forbid the community do it or GASP the local government!

McCurry sounds like he's trying to create a new kind of class warefare with Google and Yahoo as the new undeserving rich.
I see Comcast raising prices for my cable and internet, forcing me to pay for many channels I don't want, all for the privilege of tuning into a shrinking variety of programs. The city of Braintree MA offers cable and internet services through their city owned public utility company and it is far superior in price and content to that of the major comercial carriers in the area. Compitition works. If this program was correct, we've already paid for the fiber optic system once and we shouldn't believe the major carriers that if we pay for it again we'll get what we pay for.

I have been waiting impatiently for more of an opportunity to wade in on this issue. I live in TN the home of Bill Frist, leader of the pillage of anything that smacks of individual control. My local newspapers are very ideological and the only way I can find out local, or important news and happenings is through the internet. I don't shop at Wal Mart and I don't want to "shop" on the internet for prepackaged information.
The telephone and cable companies got all the tax breaks and price increases in the 1990's and did NOTHING for the consumer! Now they want more breaks to deliver what WE have ALREADY PAID FOR in the way of infrastructure. The fast lane and slow lane analogy is absolutely on target. Just like on our highways, the government does not regulate what is in the semi trucks or the cars, it should not now allow AOL, Verizon, the Bells and other cable and telephone companiew to tell me which truck I can or cannot get my groceries from.

Thank you, Bill Moyers and PBS for being the ONLY source of dissemination on this crisis of media consolidation and impending loss of internet neutrality. Like others who feel helpless to do anything when corporations own and run Congress and FCC, the only thing I can do is teach and inform college students who don't seek out this otherwise hard-to find information.

Yet I still don't understand why our "anti-trust laws" aren't breaking up corporate monolopies (e.g., Microsoft, AT&T, Clear Channel, Cox, Comcast, etc.). Is it the same corporate-owned courts that are allowing "illegal" monopolies to exist and proliferate? Please run a program on this topic some time soon as well. Thanks again.

If you're concerned, and want to stay informed about telco finagling, FCC action and what the Lame Duck Congress might do, SaveTheInternet.com has a great daily email summary of this news called Media Reform Daily. It is a primary source of network news for me!

I have been waiting impatiently for more of an opportunity to wade in on this issue. I live in TN the home of Bill Frist, leader of the pillage of anything that smacks of individual control. My local newspapers are very ideological and the only way I can find out local, or important news and happenings is through the internet. I don't shop at Wal Mart and I don't want to "shop" on the internet for prepackaged information.
The telephone and cable companies got all the tax breaks and price increases in the 1990's and did NOTHING for the consumer! Now they want more breaks to deliver what WE have ALREADY PAID FOR in the way of infrastructure. The fast lane and slow lane analogy is absolutely on target. Just like on our highways, the government does not regulate what is in the semi trucks or the cars, it should not now allow AOL, Verizon, the Bells and other cable and telephone companiew to tell me which truck I can or cannot get my groceries from.

As mentioned in the program, Sen. Ted Stevens, Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee and the principal author of the Senate telecommunicatiions bill that lacks Net Neutrality protections, has stated that he will get this telecom bill passed in Lame Duck session, which will likely begin around Novemer 13. It is EXTREMELY important to contact your U.S. Senators to inform them that you OPPOSE passage of this telecom bill (formerly S.2686, currently designated as H.R.5252, since it is being offered as an amendment to the House telecom bill), if you agree that Net Neutrality is in the country's best interests.

The website
www.savetheinternet.com is a source of excellent information.

Best regards,
Chuck Peña
Executive Director
Fairfax Public Access
Fairfax, VA 22031
cpena@fcac.org
www.fcac.org


All right, I watched the show. All I got is that because the previous regulation-heavy telecom market in the 80s and 90s didn't get it done, now we should be afraid that... AT&T is going to make me read FoxNews.com instead of Daily Kos! I should be so lucky! And what the hell, I can still rewind and fast-forward my TV now.

Basically this whole program falls apart the way most Moyers consumer reports episodes do. If you don't take it as a given that the telcos are trying to screw you. I repeat: I can re-wind and fast-forward (up to a point) live programming. I'm supposed to be worried that in a few years I can get that on my laptop?

Enjoyed the program. However, how do you protect against what is unwanted?

Someone recently used my email address to send "raunchy, dirty" emails to people whom I don't know. I've got firewalls and various other protections on my computer, yet some unknown person was able to access my info.


The phone company fiber optics system, will just help these nusances to be able to bother me and others faster!

Barbara Grosswald
Kings Park, NY


The ablility to share ideas and data Globably must be preserved. I don't think I could tolerate a provider sying to me (via denial of I.P. routing) that www.bbc.co.uk for example was inaporiate material for us in the U.S. This is what the bill will ultimantly give them the power to do. If they dissagree with content (no matter what it is) they WILL BLOCK ACCESS. This is not what I believe the spirit behind the Constitution had in mind. Without the proper language reguarding policy and ethics this bill must be blocked.

From the beginning, Mr. McCurry and other phone company lobbyists have spun Net Neutrality as a "solution in search of a problem." It makes for a pithy sound byte. Unfortunately, the reality is far more disconcerting. Top executives at the nation's largest phone and cable companies have repeatedly stated their intention to impose new tolls on the Internet -- to create a non-neutral network that would extend special favors to the companies that strike deals with them and discriminate against the rest of us who don't.

They're on the record. What executives at AT&T, Verizon, BellSouth and Comcast want to do IS a problem. And it's in desperate need of a solution. That solution is the meaningful and enforceable Net Neutrality.

The fight to preserve Net Neutrality has brought together many disparate groups to oppose the power grab by phone and cable companies. More than a thousand consumer and Internet rights groups, public advocacy organizations, trade groups, faith-based and political organizations, librarians, educators and small businesses have come to the defense of Net Neutrality. More than a million Americans have written Congress asking for it. Net users have used new online tools in the blogosphere, and on YouTube, MySpace, and Facebook to defend the Internet against the very real problems posed by these executives

We didn't join together to spread conspiracy theories. We're responding to explicit threats from some of the most powerful corporate executives in the world. What's caught McCurry and his allies in the phone industry off guard is the force of this public response. Until now, media legislation had been written behind closed doors with no public input. Not anymore.

Our success thus far reflects the Internet’s new power to mobilize millions of people as a democratizing force. That’s why the public’s active involvement is so important. The more an organized public is engaged in the policy-making process, the more likely the Internet that Congress shapes will serve the people, not just powerful corporations.

When McCurry says that there's no threat, and that consumers "enjoy vast legal protections to access the content of their choice," he ignores the new threats to Internet that his employers have themselves outlined.

But if these companies are honestly determined not to defy the principles of Net Neutrality, why are they spending tens of millions of dollars to kill all efforts to protect this fundamental consumer protection?

If you believe the phone companies are primarily out to help consumers—I’ve got an iceberg in Greenland I’d like to sell you.

It is difficult to speak truth to power when the microphone is owned by others. I hope this excellent show has awakened many more oeople to the issues of control and arrogance.

Net Neutrality is an absolute
must and should be defended by government and private citizens alike. Bravo for providing an enlightening and
totally essential program on this subject.

now is the time for all good people to defend our freedoms !!! by joining groups like moveon.org christian coalition womens league of voters and yes make apest of yourself email and call your congress man and senator every day make them know you will not be flimflamed and conned the site lmv.org of the league of women voters has all yor federal people on it use it asap since Ben Franklin did state That those whom will give up essential libertys for temporary SECURITY DESERVE NIETHER ONE !! and lets not have a Big Brother like ion 1984 who tells us what to watch what to believe and whom to believe this is not a Aristocracy where only rich persons can express their VIEWS !!

At the time of SBC's purchase of AT&T in 2005, SBC provided local telephone service in 13 states (Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Wisconsin), provided long distance service to 10 million customers and owned 60% of mobile phone provider Cingular Wireless, the largest mobile phone service provider in the United States. BellSouth, in a joint venture with AT&T Inc., owns the remaining 40% of Cingular Wireless. The company was also an Internet Service Provider and the largest DSL provider in the US, with more than 5.1 million DSL subscribers as of late 2005. Now add BelSouth land-line service to the mix.

When is someone going to expose what I see at nearly every session on the House floor. With few exceptions the Republicans present a bill under a closed rule (no ammendments allowed). The Democrats get to see it roughly an hour before the house votes on it. With no ammendments allowed the best they can do is complain about it - to no avail.

Great show. Being rural, I agree 100%. All we can get out here via AM is Clear Channel. When certain ranting talk show hosts come on, I switch and switch and switch channels, and don't miss a word of his rant!

I also live in tornado alley. When we had a local station, we could tune our radios to the local station and hear almost instantaneous reports -- no more. All of our stations are canned out of some distant city -- probably Chicago!

My worry is the spin that some put on words. I worry that I will tell my congressperson to vote on the wrong bill because lobbiests know how to word a request that makes me think I am voting for neutral internet when maybe I'm not. I think we need a code word to KNOW which is for the people and which is for monopolies.

Does anyone know what happened in LOST tonight?

Ethan Cruze: AOL says "Oops! The web page you are looking for could not be found. " Please check and clarify. Thanks.

I'm someone who recalls the "big chill" that came over TV during the Reagan era, from the standpoint of having delivered two on-air editorial replies on CBS-TV-2 New York City, during my grad school years in the late 70s. As infrequent as these opportunities for ordinary citizens to talk back had been, at least such outlets once existed. Then Reagan's FCC "reformed" media by doing away with decades-old concepts of the equal time rule both in campaigns and for controversial messages, and the whole concept of editorial reply. The result has been a new "iron curtain" drawn against any grass-roots voices on TV, UNLESS of course their managers, the monopoly gate-keepers of their broadcast frequencies, decide they like the message you have to delivery.
The result has also been a general dumbing down of public understanding about the roots of broadcast regulation in the 1930s, and the fundamental concept that the airwaves ARE INDEED, public property.
So long as the average citizen - even well-educated, white-collar professionals, I've found -have little idea that broadcast frequencies are by their nature, beyond private ownership, then citizens continue to be duped into believing that the "unfettered right of the broadcaster to say what HE wants," is somehow, an issue of "First Amendment FREE SPEECH!" Lost is the understanding that a broadcast license granted by the FCC is a public trust, that was MEANT to come with heavy obligations to serve the public interest. Instead, today, we see the travesty of Clear Channel taking control of 1000's of FCC licenses, not only for their profit, but in service to their particular political agenda.
It seems clear to me that -had broadcast technology existed during the founding of America - the control of media would have been treated as another branch of government, with the power to control access to it distributed as widely as the elective franchise, and with any for-profit commercial exploitation of it treated as an occasion to charge a reasonable fee for usage by these commercial interests. Instead, today broadcasters pay NOTHING for the fair value of the licenses given them by the FCC, but reap billions in advertising revenue from this public resource. The greatest atrocity is that the FCC licensees have arrogated to themselves the right to charge candidates for public office billions each year, for the "privilege" of participating in election-year debates by those who would serve as representatives of the very government ... that just gave away these airwaves to the broadcast campaign profiteers ... FOR FREE!
The lesson here is not only that we must re-take public interest control of BROADCAST media from the handful of profit-making conglomerates that now control so much of this resource, but also that we must not allow the common carrier principle that once ruled broadcasting, to slowly drain away from the INTERNET, as it has been leeched out of FCC policy since the FDR era!We must think long term, and we must think first and foremost about what is in the best interest of our children and grandchildren, to re-establish and preserve a vibrant, functioning and sustainable democracy!

The program made clear that, in fact, the telecom industry already HAS charged CONSUMERS for the construction of the increased bandwidth Mr. McCurry discusses without building the infrastructure. Companies that Mr. McCurry represents are using the courts to prevent public utilities from building better infrastructure themselves.

We are at a unique point in human history where one medium- the internet- is critical both to the development of our economy and our democracy. It is imperative that we make net neutrality law in order to protect both.

For those who are wondering what they can do, go to www.savetheinternet.com to learn more. Contacting your senators about the issue is vital.

RE: MM at 10:46: Not true. All leaders (except Switz) have competitive markets, with open access. Gov't incentives for deployment in rural areas. But the main commonality is competition created by policy.

Notice that tied to the obvious issue of who gets to make profit where, there is a controversy over who owns knowledge. In the 1960s and 1970s, knowledge is understood to be something proprietary and saleable (consider among others, Lyotard in Post-Modern Condition). Clearly, that is not the case anymore (when did you last pay to acquire new knowledge -- e. g., a Google search?). Boomers -- the folks running the country today, the Clintons, Bush and so on -- believe that in their deepest uncriticized thinking. Most of the GenXers do, too (certainly the forty-somethings). Controlling the 'net is a control of knowledge and its communication. The point: It's an obsolete system. I'll bet, if 'net neutrality is compromised, a whole lot of "pirate" systems will emerge, operated by folks who don't subscribe to the obsolete view of knowledge-as-proprietary. It has happened before, after all....

Isn't the hypothetical fascinating -- that's what all tv is based on....its not reality...it's what you want it to be. The internet is reality and we need to deal w/ it in a realistic way with marketplace competition. Do you really think the govt is going to have better ideas than you or I? Get over yourself...pls.

Ben Scott comments:

Let me grab onto Mike's question from earlier.

When I look at the US failure to compete seriously with the rest of the world in broadband, I see the a failure to produce policies the give us more competition between the companies that sell consumers access to the network. None of those countries have made policies that permit gatekeeping and REDUCE competition between content providers online. Scrapping Net Neutrality is a step in the wrong direction if we want to build an Internet economy that will put us back on top of the world.

fabulous fabulous show. we have THREE NPR stations in this town, and the small community radio station i volunteer as a programmer has 20 times more local info than all three put together. it's truly pathetic!

Excellent program. The Impolitic is on record in full support of net neutrality. If the telecoms intend to honor it "in prinicple" then there should be no problem with reinstating government regulations to preserve and protect neutrality. The corporations already control our access to the internets, and every other major source of information. By no means should they be allowed to potentially control internet content.

Not only must net neutrality be codified but the FCC should also overturn recent rulings on media consolation to restore diversified local control over all news media. Our democracy does indeed depend on the full unfettered public discourse that only the internets and a diversified media can provide.

One thing which is frequently lost sight of is that the telcos claims about needing the revenue from tiered pricing for deployment are a function of their own rapacity. Deregulation has provided them with a windfall of tens of billions of dollars, extracted from the public, which they promised to use to fund fibre deployment and then pocketed as profits. A just policy would insist that the telcos deploy highspeed fibre as a condition of even permitting consideration of modifying the net neutrality rules. A government the regulatory agencies and legislature of which had not been captured by these special interests would insist on deployment before entertaining proposed rules changes. The telcos have already been paid to deployment the necessary infrastructure. Let them cough up the money and deploy. Then we can see if there's any need to modify the rules,

please send information when this legislation comes up in front of congress so that I let my congress representives how this family feels. The internet can NOT be allowed to be taken over by big business!!!!

If net neutrality is going to be supported by peter pan, tron guy and the freaky sweater lady, then count me out. i'd rather have at&t, and verizon control my 'freedom'.

i am the internet, you are the internet....

When the telecos claim that there is no need for regulation because nothing bad has yet happened, that is like a mentally ill patient going off of his medicine because he is feeling better. The cost of curing something is almost always much greater than the cost of prevention, and we must keep this in mind before we let the monopolistic teleco's free reign over an unpreventable natural monopoly.

I live in a rural area and my choice of net service is exremely limited and very costly. There are no plans for highspeed access for my area and probaly won't be for decades if ever. Anyone ever heard of the Rural Electrification programs from the past? I remember my grandfather telling stories about the day they turned the lights on. Our government has lost its way and we should tell them this now and reiterate in a few weeks at the polls.

I have always felt this was our last real Democracy and without it I have no idea what we will do in the U.S. I no longer watch TV news (any of them), read ANY newspapers, read ANY magazines and without the net I won't know where to go because I will not support it if it becomes the way of the other media. There is already talk of going underground, if need be, to communicate. I suppose we can always purchase our own infrastructure? Bit by bit we can do this if allowed. Anyone know if it would be allowed? I honestly will not support them if they start squeezing out the little people.

Oh and I forgot to mention that the bills are usually over 1000 pages with an hour to look at them and the "poison pills" hidden by the Republicans within a bill whose intent purports to be the opposite of what it actually is. And the media will never expose them for doing it.

Mr. McCurry, if "many" say that S. Korea et al. are free of what the local telcos call "burdensome regulation," they are either ignorant or lying.

The countries far ahead of us have used a combination of regulation and government subsidy to leap past us.

The most recent examples, France and the Neatherlands, make the case. Until a few years ago, they trailed us. They built the bullet and adopted the regulations we USED to have. Now folks ca get broadband in these countries much faster and cheaper on a megabit per second basis.

I urge folks to check the facts at www.muniwireless.com, as well as other websites that track industry statistics. The beauty of the internet is you don't have to take my word. A few minutes of online research and you can find the facts.

Where would this blog be if the likes of AT&T were directing the traffic?

Mr McCurry,

You of all people know that most telemedicine applications are dedicated fiber connections for which the phone companies and other providers currently charge dearly for. Only in instances where local video franchises intervene do 'public interest' givebacks occur in the form of iNets (institutional intranets) which enable communities to use networks for civic purposes.

The other side of the net neutrality debate is this video franchising legislation (HR 5252) which seeks to strip local control of local communications infrastructures, eliminate iNets and compromise the set-asides in place for local public, educational and governmental access TV stations (the other truly local, non-commerical media). HR 5252 also legalizes the red-lining in the roll-out of these services - this is beyond slow and fast lanes - this would be the loss of an on-ramp for many communities in the first place.

saveaccess.org

If AT&T, Verizon, Cable and Satellite TV broadcasters REALLY cared about building a network they would put their money where their mouth is instead of blowing it on Washington. Oh, but wait, that suggests that they can make MUCH more by being in total control of the internet.

Mr. McMurry,

Thank you for participating in discussing this vital issue.

Above, Ben Scott wrote: "The networks claim they would never discriminate against content. Yet they don’t want to see discrimination made illegal."

I'm interested in how you respond to this.

Why do you think the networks "do not want to see discrimination of content made illegal" if not because they in fact DO want to discriminate against content?

Thank you,
Nico

In response to Mike McCurry: You keep talking about how the telecos need to get paid for building the infrastructure. But at the top of the show, it was made quite clear that they have already been paid by deals made with state regulators who traded a promise of high-speed broadband for enormous tax breaks. Why should the telecos get more favors when they squandered the good money of citizens and still haven't made good on their promise?

BUILDING ON EARLIER COMMENTS, I HAVE TWO QUESTIONS FOR MIKE MCMURRY:

#1: When you say that "these black-helicopter scenarios from neutrality advocates that 'sometime in the future' there might be different levels of service on the Net are so questionable", I take it you are assuring us that businesses will not work together to increase mutual profit. This seems more than a bit counter-intuitive. The addition of tiered content control is an obvious next step to develop such profitable business relationships. Even if this goes against your corporate ethics, what will you do when a competitor begins to do so? In order to survive, it seems this would become a necessity for several ISP and ISP-related industries (similar to decisions made to outsource work in numerous American businesses). MIKE, UPON WHAT PRECISELY IS YOUR ASSURANCE THAT THIS WILL NOT HAPPEN BASED?

#2: In regards to "doing everything possible to encourage more, and more affordable, broadband deployment and to allow technology to prosper and advance and make the operations of networks more efficient", I believe the answer is for businesses to make computers and internet access even more affordable to reach the largely untapped customer base living on lower class wages. IS THIS IMPOSSIBLE WITHOUT THE IMPOSITION OF AN EVEN MORE ELABORATE TIERED STRUCTURE LEADING TO RESTRICTED CONTENT?

... AND ONE COMMENT ABOUT "OTHER COUNTRIES AHEAD OF US IN BROADBAND DEPLOYMENT": We are not "behind". I cannot imagine a country is ahead of us in this area that also possesses both our population and geographical size as well as the immense freedom of content access.

The problem with your argument, Mr. McCurry, is that the interests you represent have ALREADY shirked thier responsibilities. The telecommunications sector is among the most profitable in the world, and that profit margin has largely been built in the past 20 years. As a PUBLIC UTILITY, which is what they are, whether they like it or not, they have a responsibility to provide the best service they possibly can, to use those massive profits to improve thier network infrastructure. Instead of being responsible corporate citizens, they have chosen to use those profits to fill their own pockets, and to hire expensive Lobbyists( much like yourself) to short circuit the legislative process and keep the profits rolling in.
So what's the solution?
Should'nt these companies be forced to foot the bill for improved service, since they effectively promised it to us more than a decade ago? I'm not for increased regulation, but is'nt it the governments JOB to protect from this sort of predatory behavior on the part of Big Business?

PLEASE save internet neutrality - we don't need "big brother" erecting toll booths on the information highway! Wonderful programme tonight, thank you

I’m afraid this is all tilting against windmills.

The reality is that the telcos will succeed. It will be a long slow evolving process that won’t violate any laws or explicitly block internet access. Net Neutrality will dissolve as the telcos start to provide ‘value added’ private bandwith to their partners. We will see the big content providers cave in to the telcos. Over time there will be high speed and low speed lanes. The telcos will spend enough money on marketing to convince us that it is in our best interest.

Advances on the public portion of the internet will lag far behind the ‘private’ portion of the internet. All of our applications and communications will work fine on the public portion, fine but not as well as those applications with access to the ‘private’ portion. Over time this will limit competition and innovation and the general public won’t notice a difference.

The only voices for change will eventually come from within the very same corporate boardrooms that have hatched this tiered internet structure. Investors will be the ones who first notice the slowdown in innovation and growth. They will be the ones who will say to the telcos: What happened to that fantastic growth we had back in the 00’s? Why haven’t we seen a new YouTube or Google in years? That’s when the tide will turn in favor of Net Neutrality. I don’t see any changes till then.

-- Tom; formally of RedBankTv.org

Mike McCurry comments:

Thanks to everyone for your comments. I won't point you to opinionated sites the way Ben Scott did -- you are a savvy bunch and can get your own info. Go to the Congressional Research Service or other analysts to get real info. Take a look at what Wall Street analysts say: they punish the telco stocks for saying they will invest in network improvements when they face the real possibility of new federal regulations about network neutrality.

Go and report for yourself and then you decide. There is another side to this argument that the blogosphere is covering up.

--Mike

AT&T is already charging in 3 tiers for broadband service. I don't have a huge issue with that. If I could afford a T3 in my home I would get one, that is not a new arguement. But if they start decreasing bandwith to those in the lower tiers then this becomes a big issue. The power that we would be handing over to the telcom/cable industry would place them back in the position they were in back in the mid 70's then who can we complaign to? If the powers that be can't understand the technology then how can they make such a sweping decision (on our behalf) PLEASE, PLEASE Hear us.

I agree with the above from Laura:
---
Contacting your senators about the issue is vital.
---

We must all take the time to make sure our voice is heard. Sometimes people feel that there has been enough calls about the issue, but that isn't so...

I’m afraid this is all tilting against windmills.

The reality is that the telcos will succeed. It will be a long slow evolving process that won’t violate any laws or explicitly block internet access. Net Neutrality will dissolve as the telcos start to provide ‘value added’ private bandwith to their partners. We will see the big content providers cave in to the telcos. Over time there will be high speed and low speed lanes. The telcos will spend enough money on marketing to convince us that it is in our best interest.

Advances on the public portion of the internet will lag far behind the ‘private’ portion of the internet. All of our applications and communications will work fine on the public portion, fine but not as well as those applications with access to the ‘private’ portion. Over time this will limit competition and innovation and the general public won’t notice a difference.

The only voices for change will eventually come from within the very same corporate boardrooms that have hatched this tiered internet structure. Investors will be the ones who first notice the slowdown in innovation and growth. They will be the ones who will say to the telcos: What happened to that fantastic growth we had back in the 00’s? Why haven’t we seen a new YouTube or Google in years? That’s when the tide will turn in favor of Net Neutrality. I don’t see any changes till then.

-- Tom; formally of RedBankTv.org

According to Bruce Kushnik, the telcos DID get paid to build the infrastructure of the Internet, but they didn't build it. And now they want more money so they can not-build it again?

I have to cut down here early to post this in direct contradiction to Mike McCurry. He asks: "How do we expect to pay for an upgrade to the phone lines without installing Net Tollbooths?" I have an answer for him that he's not likely to like: Decrease the salaries of the CEO's. If every corporation would decrease the astronomical paychecks of it's top executives, it would be rolling in money that it never realized it had. THAT's where the bulk of the consumer's monthly payment is going, not to covering the costs of the service, but to filling the pockets of the corporate executives. If their pockets are given, even just PIN holes, they would be able to restring the entire country twice over.

According to Bruce Kushnik, the telcos DID get paid to build the infrastructure of the Internet, but they didn't build it. And now they want more money so they can not-build it again?

I don't understand how the phone companies can say they have to charge these online companies like Ebay extra money so that consumers won't have to pay the costs of building the network. Won't consumers pay more for the products we buy online from barnes and noble and Ebay, etc. when the companies pass on the costs? And we won't get to choose which sites work best for us. That doesn't sound fair to me.

Very, very interesting debate. It seems to me that Net Neurality is every bit as important as free speech. The notion that corporations like AT&T or Time Warner must have the ablity to control the speed at which public information flows as a revenue model to develop private infrastructure flies in the face of FREEDOM. This is nothing more than a high-priced ploy by wealthy CEOs and their cronies to feed their greed to become even wealthier.

Mr. McCurry - when did you become a Republican?

The best thing any individual can do is to exercise their consitutional right to VOTE. Elections are coming up in a few weeks. I will certainly cast my vote accordingly.

WE NEED NET NEUTRALITY!
Who's gonna pay for the new big pipes? Let the CEO's and top executives in this country moderate their compensation to pay for it - they already earn about 50X more than their average employee.

What a disgrace! These people are like pigs at a trough. But pigs should remember not to eat the farmer too in their gluttony, lest he stop bringing the slop and they starve later on. This country is no longer the country of the little guy, of the mom and pop business, of the family farm. Ours is a corporatocracy now, plain and simple. How sad. But when all the little guys are gone, and the giants stand alone with distended bellies, what will they eat, when the cupboard is bare?

Francroaker -- old regulatory regime. These aren't the same companies they were 15 years ago.

And remember from the program: back then, you hadn't heard this was going to happen before. It was something everybody wanted to do, but didn't work out. That's the government's fault, too. But you actually HAVE heard about this. It's a new media age.

Thank you for keeping this topic alive and up front. Big business and politicians would like it to go away so they can "railroad" legislation suited to their liking. Please help us "little" citizens put the pressure on congress to be aiming for Network Neutrality. Thanks again for a great program.

I have to agree with Bill Moyers and Ben Scott.
I have been watching the F.C.C. and how they have been changing in the last two years. This is very dangerous to a good democracy as it can be lobbied too easilly in favor of the big telecommunications companies thereby strangeling the local small guy as well as the middle of the road companies. Therefore strangeling democracy.
We don't need a few monopolies, but rather a billions of small voices.
This is democracy!!

It all begins with the title of the lobbying organization Mike McCurry co-chairs,"Hands off the Internet." He is representing businesses not individual hands. Those he represents want everyone to think they are doing it for the citizens - the hands. Can we belieive anything he says when he starts with a lie? The prevarication of his representation should warn everyone we are in danger of loosing our internet podium and ultimately being censored by corporations - the same as was done with radio and television. (Other than PBS and other public radio and television, I rarely listen or watch either due to the lack of creativity that is broadcast.) I believe a key thing to do is motivate the blog community to stimulate a barrage of emails to our representatives in Washington DC to act solely in the best interest of the real hands of this wonderful country, the individual citizens.

The Moyers on America Class offers an opportunity to learn more about four different aspects of this issue:

1. The New Digital Divide
2. Net Neutrality
3. Community Connections
4. Big, Bigger, Biggest Media

This citizens class will remain online for further comment after tonight's online debate and dialogue.

We encourage you to continue this dialogue in the Citizens Class and to invite your friends, family and colleagues to join in. The complete video of tonight's program will be available on this website very soon. You may want to host a video watch party in your home followed by a discussion of the issues being raised here tonight.

A printer-friendly guide to the Moyers on America documentary, "The Net at Risk" can be downloaded at: http://www.pbs.org/moyers/moyersonamerica/print/netatriskclass_print.html

Taylor Willingham
Moderator

Very good show. Again, I believe the issues surrounding neutraility are not simply about free speech, but about economic development and innovation. Without neutrality, innovation becomes more difficult and costly; new media markets and providers are preemptively destroyed. I am a bit disapointed that the show did not examine the issues revolving around the COPE legislation, and ATT/Verizion's pressure to eliminate local cable francises and coverage requirments. Nonetheless, a very good introduction to the issue of Neutrality.

We need to get a commitment from all the candidates currently running for office that they will protect net neutrality. We the People created the internet with our free participation in a conversation that wraps around the world. Anything is possible as long as our access is unhampered.

>> Should Net users who pay $9.95 a month for ESPN films have to contend with a slower connection because others are using BitTorrent to illegally download “The Legend of Ricky Bobby”?

Let me step gingerly, but consciously onto a "slippery slope", for purpose of generating some discussion.

Suppose that Net Neutrality applied to all LAWFUL uses of the Internet -- and that the spectre of illegal BitTorrent downloads need not haunt us and clog the legal sale of content on ESPN.

Looking back to other industries with similar common carriage principles -- a railroad line is not required to accept as freight a carload of pyrotechnics (fireworks)for delivery in a state where they are illegal. Indeed, perhaps they don't have to carry them at all because the law recognizes them as hazardous materials.

I offer this for discussion, as I would be rather wary of the steps that might follow -- ie. that *allowing* the carrier to enforce certain laws and embargo "illegal" content, could lead in short order to *expecting* them to do so and, from thence, to *requiring* them to do so. At that point, we have full blown censorship and I doubt that any of us would want that.

Net Neutrality is the last battleground for preserving our freedom. Labor unions and a strong federal government WERE the only protections the average citizen had against corporate america who now runs the government through the lobyists. Do not expect an election to help: only vigilance, concern and the level of involvement displayed tonight MIGHT save
us. Thanks to all who made this possible.

McCurry blames the blogosphere and departs. Tail between legs.

I also thought it was offensive that one of Moyers' guests built up a straw man argument about bloggers -- that apparently they're supposed to have matched the regular media by now, and so they don't represent an increase in individual media coverage.

The Long Tail economics of the Internet make it very obvious that moving packets is orders, magnitudes easier than moving atoms across great distances. Even if Fox News did have a faster connection than Daily Kos, the difference is infinitessimal. We're talking seconds, not weeks.

I would like to know if Ben Scott has read either the book or essay, The Long Tail. Small is big, too.

Would love to see follow-up on what is being done to replicate the success story of the small station that managed to broadcast during Katrina. Is there a groundswell to create more of these local stations? That braodcaster was heroic and deserves to be recongnized and financially rewarded -- perhaps as an advisor to FEMA for the next disaster.

It is so stunningly clear that the loss of net neutrality will eliminate the very type of discussion we are having now. Nothing makes life easier for large corporations than being able to keep their operations a secret. The internet took that comfortable position away from them, and you will not convince me that they would take every opportunity to get it back. The control of information is control of everything.

Never has it been clearer that each of us has a responsibility to actively fight for their inalienable freedoms. Bill Moyers’s authentic journalism and commitment to truth has been an inspiration to so many dedicated people who have written books and articles, spoke around the country, formed organizations, created independent media, sued the government, collectively growing a people’s movement for change. The Internet is our lifeline now, as every other avenue of communication has been stolen from us. It is essential that this burgeoning movement of people – who have recognized that communication is the tool that either keeps us free or enslaves us-- be joined in massive numbers because nothing less is required at this moment of our history. I would really encourage and urge everyone to come to the Media Reform Conference in Memphis this January (www.freepress.net) and just show up. Everything else will grow from that.

Ok Ha,Ha,Ha,Ha,Ha, I cant stop laughing at this nonsence answer me one thing and I'll stop laughing; If there were a murder trial and the jurors were allowed to be paid millions to benifit them & there families by the defendant I think that would sway there view on the issue at hand.So why are these lobbiest allowed to pay and donate money to parties involved in the decision making prosses . this seems like a conflict of intrest so lets do away with all this sour business and represent the people not the perps.

Ben Scott comments:

I'll take this opportunity to agree withe Mike. There IS another side to this story. But the blogosphere is not covering it up. The other side to this story is a big picture vision for what the people want the Internet to look like in the future. It's a story that says Net Neutrality is the cornerstone of the most democratic medium ever created. It's a story that rejects the notion that we are stuck accepting the dead-end realities of a telco-cable duopoly. It's a story that makes a public commitment to universal broadband in the 21st century in the same way we made a public commitment to universal telephony in the 20th century.

Now that's a story I want to read and help write. And I'm humbled by the sheer democratic (little "d") force of the blogosphere to write it together with policymakers.

One of the mayor things STILL (for a short while) missing in this country are companies from other countries with enough foresight to come here and provide the services the public wants.. IF the American Government is not going to give the public what it wants then it will sooner rather than later feel the effects.. Look at the backlash against this particular one sided "style" of governing and see what is expected to happen in November!.. If the companies keep pushing in the wrong direction and try to cut out human individuality and self expression or application of services, then there will sooner rather than later develop a underground network to circumvent the big boys.. and win. ( Proof for that is in the way on underground was developed by alternative medicine and the billions in dollars spent without the approval of big medicine. All the way to today where the big drug companies are CHASING the consumer trying to come in via the backdoor to access this money pool for alternatives..realizing that they lost out on sharing what the public is willing to pay for, just to have services for the way they like it!).
There is no doubt that the people will win.

I will vote for change this November and I expect to see a mood and mind change that will carry the US/us into the future on a free and open access internet.

60 years ago when I was a kid in Europe, I dialed my phone calls from my house to my grandmothers without operator assistance.. When I came her twenty years later I had to get used to picking up the receiver and have some switchboard operator dial the number through some party line!... Interesting! Now I hear that the most backward countries will and are more advanced in their wiring just because they saw the value in progress and did not spend time fighting over the moral destruction against a free society.

Congratulations to WQXR-LA in Lafayette.. I will send a dollar to help in the rebuilding of the house.. THERE is yet another place where only citizens can and doo make a difference.. Shame on all who could not see the need to help in a disaster which is only the forerunner to the big one. How sad that we have to think that we need to depend on our representatives. The truth is that the public knows truth from fiction and lies go only so far.. the rest is history in the making.

Someone once said .. you can fool the people once in a while but you cant fool them all the time.. YeaP!!!

Thank you for allowing me to sound off ... best service for me yet!

I will again renew my 40 year old PBS membership... just because PBS is the last bastion of freedom and conversations!

Jolanda Bassi

If net neutrality is restructured by these big corp. and our gov. and citizens begin to lose their own voice in this democracy will we slowly be plucked off the streets or from our homes when we do voice protest because remember without Habeas Corpus no longer in our constuition nor freedom of speech what sort of society will we be living in? Mr. George Orwell should clearly come
to mind!

Mike says: "Wall Street analysts say: they punish the telco stocks for saying they will invest in network improvements when they face the real possibility of new federal regulations about network neutrality." But why should we care so much about Wall Street's babying of the telephone companies? Should we not care about the venture capitalists' warning that online innovators won't get funding in a world without net neutrality? How were the phone companies doing before the Brand X decision? I think they'll get over an initial Wall Street surprise.

Our history has shown us that it is free and independent speech that has given us our freedom. It started with the trial of Peter Zenger. It continued with the writings of the abolitionst which gave my forebearers the voice for our freedom. The internet is the printing press for our contries continued freedom. Thank you PBS for another enlighting program.

Another point to make is what's happened to the FCC and the SEC. They were established to be accountable to the people, and to regulate the companies. That purpose has been turned on its head by corporate lobbying and corrupt practices of buying out board members. Both the SEC and the FCC are in the pockets of the big corporations, and this is why they have been blinded to sense, and are endorsing such a STUPID proposal as the elimination of Net Neutrality regulations. "Principles" my butt. "Prinicples" are for dictating someone with morals. Who EVER heard of a corporation with morals? These days? They're the backbones of any and all corruption one will find in Government. Corporation X wants something done. Said corporation gives certain key congressmen money and expensive trips. Something gets done in favor of Corporation X. Legislation that favors big corporations, by its very nature, is detrimental to the well-being of the public as a whole.

It isn't a matter of Kushnik's claim. It is a fact. If you review the legislative and regulatory record at the state level, the telcos did commit to deployment as a condition of deregulation. If you examine rate changes after deregulation, it is absolutely clear that additional tens of billions of dollars were extracted from the public. If you look at the reported profits of the telcos, it is also patent that those tens of billions of dollars went to profits rather than infrastructure deployment. This isn't just the claim of an analyst; it is plain from examination of the public record.

cathy,
I would really like to see something good come there was aswell for their heroism... They did a great job, helped alot of people, and should be much greater recognised for what they did.

I am also very happy that PBS decided to run this show and would love to watch a follow up soon.

Given the importance of upcoming elections, is there a site that provides a vote stance of politicians regarding net neutrality.....either of those in office or those running?

I thank you for educating me on the issues of the Net at risk and our access to information from the public being lost if the Corporate Cable and Phone companies have their way. I will call my representative in congress and senate to express how I want them to vote. I sure hope they consider my requests for them to vote in favor of freedom of access on the Internet and allow for competition and local radio stations.

I have not checked out the whole site, however, I wish there was a short version of these issues and to do list for me to pass on to friends and family. This need to act has to spread by word of mouth and a ground swell of protest to our government about this as the only way to keep a democracy alive.

Thanks again.
Irene in Ct.

The economic arguments advanced by McCurry and others are bunk. Everyone pays to push bits.

By contrast, allowing phone companies to "tier" access creates terrible incentives to choke bandwidth.

I have written a fairly lengthy economic proof on my blog, Tales of the Sausage Factory. http://www.wetmachine.com/totsf/item/441

I also have a general primer on net neutrality here:
http://www.wetmachine.com/totsf/item/500

And Debunking telco disinformation here:
http://www.wetmachine.com/totsf/item/511

I wish it could be shorter, but this stuff is too important to reduce to sound bytes.

Mr McCurry recently commented here - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-mccurry/hostile-commentary-and-ne_b_20179.html
"don't lecture me about how they failed to do their job -- I have had Pultizer Prize winning reporters tell me that they feel intimindated and they lack public support. Of course they -- and their editors-- feel that way. Most of the blogosphere spends hours making them feel that way)." He attacked so-called "left" bloggers only.

Lon, you can go to http://www.savetheinternet.com/ and see how each congressman stands on the net neutrality issue.

This is like reversed population control on a technological level. Think of the bits of information flowing and growing on the internet as people populating the earth. The poulation keeps growing and consequently more homes need to be built, roads need to be enlarged, food supplies need to increase, Disney land gets bigger, and so forth. So somebody quickly steps up to the mic and says wait a minute how can we sustain this growth? And the capitalist guys go cha-ching? And, we get the pill, condoms, abortion, war, abstinence, gay marriage, etc. Does it work? In some ways yes. But the human race continues to thrive because it loves its ability to duplicate. The internet emulates this very essence of human population growth. It thrives on the very spirit that gave it birth. Birth control is not mandatory and shouldn't be. The internet is humanly alive and growing just as we are all typing here tonight and giving birth to new bits of data that will populate the pipes. We don't want our rights of freedom to procreate to be taken away. We want life on the net to be free and grow. Let the tecnocrats and the money mongers and the big corporate control freaks go in the closet and suck eggs. And if I decide to have an abortion then it will be my decision. But let these bits and bauds stream free, stream free, stream free... without intervention. You cannot control the spirit of the net because it isn't technological its human spirit.

McCurry posits: "Who on Bill Moyers' team is willing to stand up and put a public price and a revenue solution to that argument?"

Let's see...

Ivan G. Seidenberg, Verizon Communications Inc. $19,425,000.00
Edward E. Whitacre, AT&T Inc. $17,181,223.00
Richard C. Notebaert, Qwest Communications International Inc. $14,832,811.00
Patricia F. Russo, Lucent Technologies Inc. $13,596,590.00
F. Duane Ackerman, BellSouth Corporation $12,524,200.00
Mike McCurry, corporate "spokeman" $ ???,???

(2005 total compensation. Source: AFL-CIO Executive Pay Watch)

Average hourly wage at the above companies: about $30/hr plus reduced heath care benefits (especially for retirees), transfer of pensions from guaranteed distribution to guaranteed contribution and less union representation.

Not to mention the incredible amount of money these corporations spend to lobby Congress and City Halls across the country, as was pointed out in the show.

That's about $100M for a start, and I don't think Ed and Pat and Richard will go hungry or file for bankruptcy from the cost of an unexpected illness in their family.

When Lucent crashed, I saw many of my retired co-workers lose ALL their life's pensions and health care. Many have gone back to work at HALF the union wage they were making. The CWA has been losing ground to the telcos for years, so I'm not surprised to see the new 'boss' at CWA kiss up more.

Here's a site that tallies where the US Senators stand on the issue:

http://www.savetheinternet.com/=senatetally

Quoth McCurry: "Take a look at what Wall Street analysts say: they punish the telco stocks for saying they will invest in network improvements when they face the real possibility of new federal regulations about network neutrality."

Quoth Bob Solimeno: "Mr. McCurry - when did you become a Republican?"

Quoth me: What, you have to hand back your party registration when you open an investment portfolio?

I remember when the telecommunications bill of 1996 was voted on and it was only Bob Dole(oddly enough) who realized what we were giving away to telecomm businesses. Education of the public is the only way to stop the federal government from serving the corporations instead of the public good. High School and college students take the Internet for granted and see it as a given, rather than something that can be lost. In order for the Internet to continue to be the incredible, non hierarchical tool that it is, it must remain free of any one corporation's control. Radio is another point in fact and I am so glad you featured the importance of independent, local radio stations. Thank you Bill Moyers for this important program.

This program and the following discussion has been very uplifting. It is as though we have found our voice again. We need to say "enough" and say it to our congress, senate, and all who are running for office. Speak up!

While I found the program exceptional (as I do with almost anything Bill Moyers is associated with) there is one glaring hole that should have been thoroughly covered – perhaps it will be in the next few episodes of this series. I believe that the main point that should have been addressed is very much along the lines of what I see the above comments looking to find a solution to what seems to be everyone's fears.

Let's start with a basic premise and work up from there.

First, this is a "brave new world" one that nobody is sure where it is headed but more importantly what innovations will be introduced tomorrow. What we take for granted today was unthinkable 15 years ago but the rate at which these innovations are being introduced is ever-increasing.

Here is where the fun begins.

What was first noticed perhaps a decade ago is the power of "disruptive technology" a term you all need to become familiar with. In fact, it was disruptive technology that created the telecom crash of 2000 - part of which was spurred by the telecommunications industry ignoring of the entire Internet phenomenon.

Just think about that for a second... A curiosity took on one of the most powerful business entities in the world and drove it to its knees in a relatively short time.

While we're talking about the technology, let's also give some credit to where credit is due by pinning the blame on a corporate culture that was convinced it was invincible. It was the sheltered mindset of sitting in corner offices that allowed the Internet to creep up on them right to the point where technologies like Skype and Vonage actually started to eat their market right out from under them. And in the usual big business fashion, they held meetings that lead to research which was then presented at more meetings possibly leading to the setting of another meeting to discuss what kind of a budget would be needed to deal with this perceived threat.

And the reality is not much has changed.

At the same time, there are people out there who are continually thinking, tinkering, inventing and developing both technologies as well as business models solely for the purpose of providing you all with what you are saying you want.

But there is a darker side of this situation. We are not simply talking about a technology issue, no we also have the issue of legislation fueled by lobbying and a campaign of misinformation spread by corporations that survive from the profits this Internet infrastructure provide.

To that there is also the same answer, innovation. In fact, we believe that innovation trumps legislation every single time.

Consider this, if a typical corporation takes some time to hold meetings, collect information, plan budgets and then execute their strategy, we have a delay. Add to that the time it will take government to respond and we now have another delay.

In the time it takes this cycle to complete another innovation is introduced and the cycle begins all over again.

The next big disruptive technology that the powers that be do not understand is the fixed wireless industry. Whether it is WiMAX or any one of a dozen different technologies that can carry data, wireless is coming and it is truly going to cause the telecommunications and video delivery industry some serious pain.

Why?

Very simply - because it is faster, better and cheaper - no longer do you have to settle for two.

The war is not lost, heck this skirmish hasn't even heated up yet. Even if they were to make wireless illegal there is another technology known as FSO (Free Space Optics) where data is carried on light.

The future is coming. We'll bring it to you as long as you keep demanding it.

You want information, we'll get it to you. You want content? We can get you there. You want connectivity - we can do that.

This is the world of free enterprise - if you want it, buy it from the company that gives you what you want - not just the one that sells to you conveniently.

There are options - don't let them tell you differently.

There are grassroots projects all over the world, from Seattle Wireless to NYC Wireless and everywhere in between.

What you need to know is that if the telecommunications and cable duopoly were winning they wouldn't need to go the legislative route.

They are losing, they know it and they are stalling.

Let's help them along and give then that final kick.

Here's what you can do.

Tomorrow - call your favorite VoIP provider and sign up. Turn your landline back into the telephone company.

Get broadband (preferably from an independent ISP) and cancel your cable television. Make a commitment to get your video from YouTube, Google Video, IFilm, Atom Film, whatever - but stop giving your money to the big boys.

Hit them where it hurts - right in the pocketbook.


In response to some who question government "control" oversight: WE ARE THE GOVERNMENT! Only through our elected officials do WE have control over anything. Before the sickening sell out by the FCC in the 1990's and again in August 2005, the neutrality of access to the net was doing just fine, encouraging innovation and lively debate, all without AT&T, Verizon, AOL or SBC intervention. First, the government regulators "gave away" the broadband frequencies to private companies owned by their friends, defrauding the American people of their own money but now seem bent on charging the American people AGAIN for something that they already paid for.
Government oversight IS for the benefit of the American people. Media, and Communication Corporations have shown their contempt for the public each time they have been offered the chance.

KSK

What we need is to put the 'participation' back in participatory democracy. Let's take this debate into the halls of Congress, into each our our senator's and congressional reps' offices. I urge every person here to contact his/her Congressional Representative on this subject.

Gatekeepers! The big telecoms want to control YOUR ACCESS. Mike McCurry says, "Why worry about problems that haven't occured?" Because he represents an organization , Hands Off, that is sponsored by the very corporate interests that want to control our access to FREE SPEECH and the very information that we can only get on a free and open internet. Shame on you Mike McCurry, and the fascist corporate interests trying to monopolize access tio the truth.

Would the govt. have a better answer? Clearly, it did. It used to effectively regulate e. g., the phone company. It also decided when it was right to break up that company. Sadly, 14 years of misrule -- first by "New Democrats" and then by value-driven Republicans have been characterized by a move away from this. It is not a local phenom, BTW. Compare Joschka Fischer, Die Linke nach dem Sozialismus (social democracy is obsolete) and the account of the redirection of social thinking in post-Mao China by Sun Yan. What you have is a 21st century revolt, stage-managed by the Gray Generation (Cheney, Rumsfeld &c.), implemented by a whole lot of Boomers (the Clintons, Bush &c.) and cheered on by the well-to-do 40-somethings. Make it all private. The comparison with the 19th century Robber Barons is instructive and correct. The pro-BigBiz views associated with, e. g., Harvard Business School (vid. Alfred Chandler's Scale & Scope) and Stanford Business School and so on -- the schools that train these weenies -- institutionalizes this line.

The most important question asked was "Explain why you believe that net neutrality will or will not benefit Internet users."

Mike's answer made absolutely no sense. Everyone on the side of net neutrality is for competition in the marketplace. That's the whole idea of net neutrality. Telecoms could choose not to tack net neutrality to video franchising but they choose not to out of greed.

Mike you know this and are being completely dishonest with your answer. The onlyone holding up lower cable bills are the telecoms you represent.

Your comment on this thread is again either dishonest or you have no clue about the telecoms you represent. In order to offer video, telecoms have already upgraded to fiber optic. There is no public price and the revenue solution is gaining a market share in high speed broadband internet access and video services.

Cable companies are ripe for the picking but people like Mike and the Telecom companies are blowing it because of pure greed.

Who does Mike McCurry think he is fooling? It is obvious that if his clients get what they want we will have a sanitized Internet: a perfect match to the corporate controlled media.

now we who are ceative can do so like One like myself has found out that when onr stands up aganist Injustice whre ever one finds it taking place the result is a fair and just response !! so please be like Edmund Burke and act not stand by and wathch evil taake over !! be a pest with all elected persons they are your SERVANTS !! to do good as Custodians of the Public Trust and yes goto the League of womwen voters web site to get ALL OF THEIR NAME S AND PHONE ### and their EMAILS AS WELL AND YES SEND THEM TO ALL YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY WHO VOTE!!!! Abe Lincoln said Nothing is as powerful as the IDEA WHOSE TIME HAS COME !!! POWER TO ALL OF US VOTERS !!! WE ONLY HAVE POWER WHEN WE USE POWER !!!

There was a hearing in February, 2006 held before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation that provided useful information on the subject covered by tonight's Moyers on America program. A RealAudio recording of the sessions as well as transcripts, are available via the page at http://commerce.senate.gov/hearings/witnesslist.cfm?id=1705. Participants included technical experts, Congress-critters and industry representatives, who spoke passionately in defense of their views on these important issues.
~

A vote against net neutrality is a vote for gaping potholes and blocked-off on-ramps to the information superhighway...turning it into a poorly lit alleyway controlled by unaccountable CEOs.

Gayle,

Thank you....

IF YOU GO TO SAVETHEINTERNET.COM AND LOOK AT HOW THE SENATORS STAND REGARDING THE UPCOMING VOTE. ONE THING STANDS OUT TO ME. EVERY VOTE AGAINST NET NEUTRALITY IS A REPUBLICAN. DRAW YOUR OWN CONCLUSION....

"Failure of Initiative" and "Lessons Learned" reports on Katrina failed to mention the volunteer Wireless Internet effort that put in 1000 square miles of broadband communications in the worst hit areas.
After all's said and done, people know very little, or nothing, about what was done to fix the critical communication problems.
Reality shows that 90% of politicians get reelected so perhaps Americans overrate ourselves and we're actually getting what we deserve.
Thanks for the program, at least you tried.

In response to Mike McCurry's comment,

"Who on Bill Moyers' team is willing to stand up and put a public price and a revenue solution to that argument?"

While I am not part of Bill Moyer's team I will show you a business model that will make this network function in a sustainable manner. If you're interested my contact information is publicly posted. Conversely, if you're simply spreading FUD, I guess you've just been called out on it.

It seems like many here are in favor of NN. That's good. But this is the choir. And the blogosphere is the choir.

Please log off and get the message out to your friends, family, neighbors, parishoners, etc... the depoliticized, the disillusioned, the disconnected, the millions of people who have never even hear of "net neutrality"...!

You people are hilarious. Justrock: "It is so stunningly clear that the loss of net neutrality will eliminate the very type of discussion we are having now."

Hah. Now I see why Moyers did this show -- it's all about him! Today I saw Moyers write to the effect that this was a "second American revolution."

It's like he wants the telecom industry to be evil, so he can live in interesting times and fight in the name of all that is good and true.

Except his anti-market blinders get him every time. I liked Moyers better back when he was investigating the truth behind tai chi.

Thank you for this very important program. I have joined the battle!! Without these kinds of programs, our news and television would continue to be the same bland, immature insult to the American intellence.

I think we underestimate the power of the internet. They cannot stop us from communicating. It may take time but time well spent... They cannot stop us from keeping in touch and that is power!! I know more than 100 organizations ready to start fiber optic companies around the country!! I also know of more than 18 Countries who have individuals willing to fund these companies, including Britian, Africa, and South America....they are willing to help support local and private owned fiber optic companies because they want...they NEED to be able to communicate with us.......let them try to control the internet....it isnt possible....its much bigger than all of us.....they will become the obsolete companies!!! people will start using alternative internet providers!!! i can see it!!!!! cant u??!!

This excellent coverage and discussion of Net Neutrality brought to mind the fable about the girl in the water who believed the venomous snake when he told her it would not bite her if she carried it to safety (but she did, it bit and she died).
The telecom industry was broken up but rose from the ashes to form several large companies, two which now want to merge; they promised to build fiberoptics but didn't and now do their darndest to squelch any group of citizens wanting to build infrastructure on their own; the fox is guarding the henhouse on the FCC and darned if we don't risk lame duck legislation from being passed or worse, tacked onto a spending bill. As an educator, consumer and patriot I am concerned about our remaining competetive. Call and write (better than email) your senators and congressmen and write, call and email the FCC. Share your concerns and your opinion. We have nothing to lose but our freedoms.

John Colascione: Is there a way to provide constructive input to your site?
jgwilliams@mindspring.com

Tax our free use of the Net ?

Look out, free Americans, and those of the free world !

Congress and the media titans are flirting with disaster -- and this time, the last vestiges of our free speech, creativity, and local voices are at stake -- and if this mighty duo has their way,
we'll see these vestiges BURN at that stake !

This is an issue that will not only affect
the U.S. -- with big media and the public voice as the two main "players" -- but all other global interests, as well.
This is an issue that is so enormous, so
incredibly vast and far-reaching, it simply must be addressed in the most cautious manner possible -- if congress chooses to rush a "gate-keeper's toll booth of free reign"-type of bill thru legislature, in wanton fashion, a veritable gag will be placed over the mouths of all free-speaking people, both here and abroad.

The consequences of supressing public
voice over the "Net" -- in text, video, and other multi-media forms -- will closely resemble those recalled from the days of J.P. Morgan and big railroads.

We've already lost the voices and flavors of our local radio stations, due to the "Clear Station-type take-overs" of the mid-90's, which was -- of course -- due to a lack of understanding and foresight by the previous administration.

We cannot allow the same to happen with our beloved "Net", which is the last
real freedom we as Americans enjoy, in a country that is supposedly "free".

Putting big media deeper into the driver's seat, will only allow them to double-dip into our wallets, and over-stuff their already-brimming coffers to the point of 'flattening the tires' of the information super-highway.

With big media's colossal ass-print deeply embedded into that leather cushion, we might as well surrender to pluto-cratic type of government.

Seriously -- what would the difference be ?

What kind of country would this be, with a mere handful of toll-keepers running the internet show ?

The answer ?

Heard any good local radio programs since -- oh ... say, 1996 ?

Everything old is new again. In the early part of this century, big telcos struck a deal with the government to build the telephone network in exchange for protection from competition. Today, they propose a new bargain - more cable television service in exchange for control over the Internet . Thats a bad deal for consumers. Read more about the history of the Kingsbury Comittment here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingsbury_Commitment

I think we should never (and I do mean) never, ever remove "Network Neutrality" for any reason!!! Part of the reason is that without it, our economy would collapse!!! Think of net neutrality as a "protection of your privacy"!!! We would be going backwards with the internet... Not many people can afford these new services... We need to fight and to ensure that "Network Neutrality" and "Public Interest" are the laws of the land!!! No excuses!!! These companies do not invest in the public's interest when they really should!!! We pay for service, we should dictate where we go!!! It's the old saying "A country of the people, by the people, for the people..." Not everything should be based around the board game!!! It's bad enough they control television, radio and cable and now forcing broadcasters to discontinue analog broadcasts where not everyone has a high definition television set in their homes, but now they want to take the internet from us is not only unconstitutional, but also economy-killing and just plain evil!!! It is time to turn full control of television, radio, cable, telephone and especially the internet back over to the public as it is necessary!!! Spreading everything out and opening up and further commercializing the internet even more would help the country in more ways than one. Discriminating the internet is (to me) like letting the major corporations decide which cities should the government protect from terrorists (during the War on Terror) and which cities should they not!!! It's just unfair, unlawful and yes I meant it, it could be the ultimate difference between life and death!!! The FCC and the government should start by paying more attention towards public interest!!! Voting against network neutrality would be considered "a blaitant, brutal betrayal" towards the people who voted the politicians in!!! These lobbyists should be thrown in jail!!! That's my bottom line, I'm from Michigan and we have suffered too much and we need change and we need politicians to be truly loyal to us and to the American people in general!!! I also don't understand if we invented the internet, why aren't we competing with countries like France, Sweden, England and Japan. Without network neutrality, we could never ever come even close -- to compete with these countries on the basis of better internet service!!! These countries have improved services meanwhile we ranked below the top 10 and by eliminating the non-discriminatory qualities of the internet -- I think we would fall right off such a map!!! Our economy is suffering as a result of the actions taken by these corporations and their lobbyist groups!!! We should begin removing lobbying groups from society immediately!!! We need to slap some sense into these people and we need to do it now!!!

Thank You:
Carlos

We have forgotten that corporate charters are written to encourage corporations to serve the PUBLIC INTEREST. If the communications giants do not wish to provide this service (for a reasonable fee) we should task our government with doing the job. We need the internet as a PUBLIC utility, whichever way it may be accomplished.

how nice Democracy at work and it works better than electronic voting machines ..haha thanks to all who are up late at night it seems.. Good going and I will look into changing my services..

"to:Tomorrow - call your favorite VoIP provider and sign up. Turn your landline back into the telephone company.

Get broadband (preferably from an independent ISP) and cancel your cable television. Make a commitment to get your video from YouTube, Google Video, IFilm, Atom Film, whatever - but stop giving your money to the big boys."


I believe there is no debate. Corporate=bad, Equality=good.

Mike McCurry comments:

OK, one final post to roll many comments into one response.

First, Betty, you are my main gal -- my kids are watching LOST and will report to me after this.

Nico and Nathan: The discrimination issue is serious if we have any situation where a network provider gains commercial advantage by discriminating against content. Frankly, that cannot happen now because the market would erupt (properly so) if any content was denied access to a free (AND FAST!) internet.

Remember this is the internet of TOMORROW that we are discussing. Rep Ed Markey ( a good guy) got it exactly wrong in this program when he said "We need to keep the Internet the way it is." That's the problem precisely. We have to improve the internet for the future and figure out how to pay for it..


The telcos are smart and want to shift the costs of the $40bn price for infrastructure improvements to other consumers of high bandwith. (Those of you who will use Google-YouTube to make lots of money know who you are.) The market needs to spread these costs..


Folks, if you think the federal government can regulate a fair outcome between these fights between big corporate interests, then you have a greater faith in the Almighty than I do. Let consumers decide what to pay for with their hard-earned dollars and choose between different providers of high-speed internet services... before we ask the federal government to come in with a new set of regulations to define "net neutrality" and screw things up for the next decade or so..


Thanks to all of you for good comments on this program..


"Shame on you Mike McCurry, and the fascist corporate interests trying to monopolize access tio the truth."

SwimDeep, you made me laugh.

In Venezuela internet free internet access is embeded in our constitution, also free internet is provided trough hot spots in many places. This is in no way a regulated communication source and it cannot be monopolized or regulated under the public domain.
this is an example we shout take here in the U.S.

Awesome pice, I wish PBS was broadcasting this sort of show all the time.

Rixio Barrios

Well, sadly I just learned about this issue.

Tellingly, I didn't hear about it on any big news network station.

Thank you PBS for bringing this issue to my attention. I am renewing my long lost PBS membership as a result.

It is time for the Representatives of The People to once again start to represent the people.

I hope enough people have "had enough" to begin to become active in making sure that happens.

Get out and vote, write, etc.

There are some great fliers you can print and distribute at http://www.savetheinternet.com/

available here:
http://www.savetheinternet.com/files/senate_flier.pdf

Or you can join over a million people who have signed the petition and send instant letters to Congress on the site.

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE DEBATE? Mike, you seem to have all the questions. No one has asked Ben anything yet. Let us give Mike a moment to allow him to respond.

What seems to be important in this debate is the government's role in the delivery of those services. Since when are we for the government having more control over our daily activities?

You need to ask yourself these questions. Are you comfortable with the government choosing your television programming? Are you comfortable with the government as your Internet provider with access to your every move?

Most people who want these services want them for little or no money. They don't care if their neighbors, including people who can barely afford their electricity, help pay for them.

Again, anyone who wants a service should pay for it. However, anyone who doesn't shouldn't be responsible for paying their neighbor's bill.

Government run communications divisions rely on subsidies from the very people they serve. In another arena it would be called a tax, a very large tax.

Gail hit this issue on the head:

That doesn't sound fair to me.

What this issue boils down to is, what is fair? What do we as a nation think is fair? Who gets to decide here? The corporations . . . who get to speak with their dollars by buying votes? Or WE THE PEOPLE who can only speak with our votes?

(Whether or notes our votes are really being counted is another issue .. . .)

Net Neutrality is among the major issues the world faces today and it is very important we get it right. Getting it wrong is unacceptable and will damage all manner of social, business, government and personal freedom issues to the great detriment of everyone. I believe that Net Neutrality must be preserved so I disagree strongly with Mike McCurry and the telecommunication industries he has chosen to represent. There is a lot of propaganda and spin associated with the discussion of Net Neutrality.

I have a few points:

1. The argument over Net Neutrality has nothing to do with the performance of current or future networks as the telecom companies spin. If one pays for dial-up one gets dial-up performance. If one pays for cable speed, one gets cable speed. If you can't watch YouTube over dial-up, and if that is important to you, well you better buy a different service. Many people can do that today and they should be able to do it tomorrow. The argument over Net Neutrality has nothing to do with investment in new networks or better (faster, more reliable) performance. The U.S. and its telecommunication industry should be ashamed of our standing in the world regarding real broadband and its cost.

2. The real driver behind all this FUD is that companies like, say, AT&T look at todays world and they think - shit - we blew it. We were asleep. We need to get into other businesses and we need to extort money from new Internet businesses.

We don't want to be just a dumb pipe transporting stuff over land and under the sea and through the air like we have been doing forever. I mean who could have imagined that YouTube would be bought by Google for 1.65 BILLION dollars! We need a slice of the profits that these new upstarts are getting from creating new services and value added. It doesn't matter that we don't add value. It doesn't matter that we have made no real improvements to our networks since Christ was a kid. We can bleed this! We can get profit from the sweat of others because they are using our transport. Replace copper that is hundreds of years old and long ago paid for with fiber? Why would we do that?

3. I'm a phone company. I think - The GD cable companies have out - maneuvered the telephone companies. These bastards can offer telephone service, high speed Internet access and television over a single connection to the home. They have no need for satellite antennas on the roof. Their Internet access is faster than what a telephone company can reliably provide over distance. This competition must be killed and legislating the end of Net Neutrality is a good way to start. We do not want to compete. We do not want to be limited to transport unless we make a hell of a lot more money for doing it.

4. Phone and cable companies also are thinking: "If we are really smart here we can set up all kinds of arrangements with some of these "new age" companies that we do not understand. These arrangements could easily include directing traffic - valuable traffic - to site of our and their choosing. Screw the user and what he wants. We send him where we think he should go." Hell, we might even, eventually, get smart enough to start our own destinations for these cattle.

5. So what if we waste bandwidth by replicating, for the third time, the transmission of crappy television shows? Who cares if bandwidth is limited or even if bandwidth is important to the economy and security of the nation? We "own" it and we will dictate how it is used.

We have to do this because we are not clever enough to visualize and implement a superior business plan. All we can think of is how to best replicate what our competitive enemies are doing. As a telephone company we will provide television come hell or high water and we have the lobby in Washington to enforce this dumb self-centered view of the world.

I also want to send money to rebuild the house and will send it to WQXR-LA unless there's a better way to do it.

just wanted to add a huge huge thank you to Bill Moyers!! And to all supporters for a free net!! This disussion nor my awareness of it....wouldnt be possible without a free net!!! Thank you so much for keeping america aware!!!


Keep the net neutral!

I'd like to throw out a suggestion. It's not likely to be paid any attention due to the volume of traffic on this site at this time, but I'll throw it out anyway.

Could it be that most of the problems of Congress and other Governmental Agencies paying more heed to big corporations than they do to the people is due to the amount of time and money those corporations put into lobbyists and lobbying campaigns that the people, in their individual groups, don't have, and can't afford? I propose that, without Lobbyists, the SEC, FCC, and Congress would not be so far out of the control of the constituents as they are now. It is because of access and availability. The Lobbyists come bearing big gifts, and they are granted access. The people come bearing the phrase "but you're supposed to REPRESENT us!", and they are ignored. When the time comes to begin the campaign, the politicians make grand speeches about how they're being misrepresented, how they've done so much good for their constituents (and for an example they usually give one or two small fractions of a generally bad legislation that could possibly, maybe, benefit their constituents), and thus they get re-elected. Once re-elected, though, the constituents have no more control over them, and they return to the pockets of the lobbyists where to suck their thumbs and say "Yes, Sir!" or "No, Sir!" as they are directed.

Rainbow Rumpus, www.rainbowrumpus.org, also stands for net neutrality. Small non-profits such as ours depend on net neutrality to serve our members. We will never be able to afford to have people upload our content quickly.

For those of you wondering if we should trust the government: you're right to wonder. One issue that was not brought up in the program was the fact that the FCC has recently been destroying its own studies! You can read an article about this written by the AP here: http://freepress.net/news/17682

Government only works when we participate and pay attention to what is happening. If we don't participate, our voices won't be heard.

On the other hand, it is clear that our voices aren't heard by AT&T, Verizon, the TV networks, etc. Depending on them will mean hearing very few voices speak. It will also mean stagnation for our economy at a time when the U.S. can ill afford it.

Thanks to Bill Moyers and PBS for running this program.

Kenneth Vogel @10:44, Mark Cooper didn't say railroad barrons he said robber barons. These phone companies and congressmen who cozy up to them are disgusting. They aren't fooling anyone. Call your congresspeople, everyone.

Mike McCurry is a veritable font of misinformation! This PBS show was not advocating a publicly funded publicly built Internet delivery system. It merely pointed out the concerns and possible negative consequences of allowing unfettered, anything goes privately run ISP's. The Internet is a vital public utility that must be protected from the interests of the few. McCurry says from one side of his mouth that there is no current problem and no legislation is needed. Then from the other side of his mouth he proclaims that unless these corporations are allowed to do as they please (read- screw everybody) there is no incentive for them to invest. If that were true we would be better off without them and let government develop it instead. After all, it was government investment that created the Internet in the first place.
Any "pledges" or pronouncements that the telcoms make regarding their intended behavior must be taken with a large grain of salt. The network neutrality provisions will certainly be needed when you consider the history of broken promises and unfettered avarice in the telecom industry. What happened to the promised 45mb fiber optic broadband promised in 1996 by the telecoms to be delivered by 2006 in exchange for $200 billion in tax breaks, fee increases, and other considerations? The fact of the matter is they delivered none of it! They took the money and cross subsidized other areas of their business operations to compete unfairly and through merger consolidation walked away from their obligations. They essentially stole $2000 from every family in America and gave a few crappy slow DSL. http://www.newnetworks.com/scandals.htm Now this collection of the worlds biggest welfare bums is back for more!
If the telecoms get their way then they basically "own" the Internet. The incentive will be to packet sniff and traffic shape every bit traveling their corner of the net. They will set up "deals" with certain content providers that will work wonderfully over their own system. Competitor's bit streams will be channeled low priority therefore discouraging users within their system. As each fiefdom traffic shapes and prioritizes as they see fit the differing decisions play havoc with those users tempted to cross the ether outside their ISP's control. Users will be driven to data stream encryption to get around the constraints imposed on them by the prying eyes of their ISP's. Still the ISP can degrade or block competitors to reinforce the value of their own "services". They can offer premium "packages" that give higher payers less latency and prioritized streams within the ISP's fiefdom. As consumers find it increasingly frustrating trying to connect to content outside the system they will frequent the sites paying extortion for premium connection within the system. Lower tiered subscribers will reluctantly "upgrade" to premium tiers to get the Internet to work the way it used to.
Artificially created bandwidth restriction will be too irresistible for ISP's. They have already neglected to invest in the infrastructure of the Internet. The US is ranked about 16th and falling in roll out, speed, and price of broadband world wide. We have diminished economic competitive standing while a handful of Federally anointed duopolies is literally given a license to print money.
If you think "competition" will prevent this from happening you are kidding yourself. There are few choices for broadband for most people and the ones available all know the real money is in content delivery. None of the ISP's are interested in a cut-throat competition to just provide bandwidth!
If this isn't the business plan the telecoms are setting up right now then why the opposition to Net Neutrality? NN will still allow them to have different broadband tiers and flexibility in pricing and usage fees.ISP's can offer all the content and streams they want. It just says treat all the bits equally as they travel through their network. No playing favorites! After all, the ISP's are paid for every bit of bandwidth that is used. If an ISP's system is inadequate to handle the bandwidth they have charged for then the incentive is to supply more. Those that offer compelling content can expect success. No need to rig the system to essentially compete unfairly. So why the vehement position against Net Neutrality by a handful of corporations? If their intentions were good I would think they would be promoting it to avoid the unfair business positioning of potential competitors. Or is there really competition?

I don't understand how anyone would want to give more decision-making power to companies like AT&T after the NSA wiretapping scandal. Keep in mind that AT&T never publicly denied they were assisting the Bush administration in illegally tapping American citizens' phones. Now phony "grassroots" groups like Hands Off want to see that the telecoms get their big payoff. It seems that the end of net neutrality is payment for cooperation with illegal spying. How could anyone align themselves with these people?

Ben Scott comments:


No matter where you stand on the issue of Net Neutrality, it's impossible not to recognize that we stand at a paradigm shifting moment for the policies that will shape the future of the Internet. We have had these moments for each of the major mass media technologies of the last century. It began in the 1930s with radio. We had a repeat a generation later with broadcast TV. And then again in the 1980s with cable TV. In each case, large corporate interests, in the absence of strong public engagement, determined the future of media.

Now is the Internet's policy moment that will determine what the media looks like for the decades ahead.


The difference is that the Internet is the first technology in history that is truly free of gatekeepers. It is the first multi-point to multi-point communication system in history. That makes this moment all the more important.

It is heartening to see so much public engagement. The arguments for a free an open Internet carry the lion's share of the evidence and the principles of a free society. With sustained public involvement, this fight will break the mold and establish a truly democratic media system.

Mr McCurry seems to miss both the point and a simple solution. The point is that Citizens have the right and responsibility to determine content, not media conglomerates, regardless of what "good corporate citizens" they might be -at the moment. The solution is that consumer fee structures can easily handle reasonable costs for infrastructure improvement and maintenance. It is not a trivial point that if the speed and reliablility never got much better than DSL, a free internet is far preferable to conglomerate control and especially conglomerate controlled government agencies. Have you forgotten Mr McCurry, what happened to results of the publicly funded studies M. Powell initiated?

What will you tell your children when they ask what you did to protect from the ravages of corporate greed the greatest and most powerful tool for freedom and democracy ever imagined ?

Thanks to everyone who is expressing concern and praise for Bryce Phillips and WQRZ-LP in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. My name is Hannah Sassaman, and I'm an organizer at the Prometheus Radio Project -- we help to build community radio stations, and to advocate for more groups like the Hancock County Community Radio Association (Bryce's nonprofit organization) to be able to build stations like WQRZ in thousands more communities. You can visit Bryce's site and make a donation to him here -- http://hometown.aol.com/kb5mpw/myhomepage/club.html -- or feel free to email me at hannahjs@prometheusradio.org to learn how to get in touch.

It's up to all of us to fight for more community radio, strict and defensible net neutrality provisions, and a strong infrastructure for accountable media that serves our local communities! There are rulemakings at the FCC, bills in Congress, and opportunities in your town to speak out for your rights and take back your media. We want to help! If you are interested in community radio in your town, please get in touch with us at http://www.prometheusradio.org.

Thanks so much to PBS, Rick Karr, and the rest of the producers for such an excellent piece.

The demand & battle for net neutrality seems obvious to anyone who understands our democracy and economics. It also seems as a possible chance to return all media from corporate monopoly control to locally owned and operated control. Utilities, including communications media need to be consumer owned cooperatives. It is the only way for democracy to be sustained and supported.

Neutrality: The control-freaks in government have been trying to censor the Internet for a long time. Looks like they have finally developed a way. Fascism cannot tolerate freedom of speech.

Monopoly: The four local radio stations here are now located in one office and play satellite music. Calls to the station are greeted by voice mail. During the big power failure and storms, we heard no information, save from the national newscasts carried.

Look up Fascism on the Wikipedia. Sound like anyone we know?

Good piece on Net Neturality as it points out just how important this issue is because if Congress blows it, the net will die and become a wasteland where broadcast is king and innovation wanes as the US slides into irrevelence in the connected world of the 21st century.

We already have seen this in the voting machine debacle where vendor payoffs precluded the ability for the US to get a viable open source system that works along the lines of Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Let's hope we can avoid a similar fate for the net because the web is the last bastion of democracy we have, something we can ill afford to lose in these dark times.

I am an 82 year old grandmother who does not know how to join in blogs, but I am 100 per cent in favor of maintaining internet neutrality. It's a gut reaction.

I have to wonder how this will affect pbs.org? If they can't afford to pay more to access the 'faster pipes', would a 'live' discussion like this be possible? Also, what about non-profits which provide information through the Internet to those who can not access their services because of lack of physical transportation? Most non-profits are already short staffed and strapped financially. These non-profits help the homeless find jobs and a place to stay, help people find free, accurate legal information - apply for food stamps - so much lower-overhead services are provided via the 'net. I have to unfortunately agree that the telecomms just want more control and money in their own pockets because they see what a money-making venture the Internet is, and they just want more. Thanks to savetheinternet.com and freepress.net for sounding out!

Excellent show. I live in Congressman Fred Uptons 6th District of Michigan. As someone who derives his entire income through work on the internet, this show and Upton's comments have turned me from a life long Republican voter into someone who will now look to the other parties for a candidate to back on November 7th.

Ultimately, we must all hold our local politicians accountable. Enough of that and they will dance to a different tune.

Ben Scott: "The difference is that the Internet is the first technology in history that is truly free of gatekeepers. It is the first multi-point to multi-point communication system in history. That makes this moment all the more important."

Again, no. What's different is that the transaction costs are so much lower. Of course big companies dominate TV -- the production costs are so high. But it's far cheaper to create your own content, or for independent producers to band together.

The multipoint to multipoint aspect isn't going anywhere. If it is, this program didn't prove it. It conjectured that corporations fear the individual producer and will shut them down, and paraded a string of left-wing policy wonks to say so.

I'm especially disappointed with Tim Wu, who's usually a great read at Slate. He tried to make premium service (like the hospital provider buys) sound like an extortion racket. Couched in deceptively pro-market-sounding rhetoric, no less.

mesage to lyn miner I am on ssi have very litle $$as well yet when ever injustice comes my way i act as best i can do not let any lack of resources stop any one from prevnting any INJUSTICE FROM BECOMING A HABIT ANY WHERE You can contact the League of women voters site your own church the christians are on the War Path to sabve our fredoms a swell My GOD HELPS THE PERSON WHO FIGHTS INJUSTICE !!! Fredrick Douglas said no Progress can happen without a Struggle !!! He also said to Aggitate until you Achieve your Goal s The Winners ar e those of us who are Persistant !!! Not rich Not Lucky Because since most of us do not have those things and in my Battles they were not needed Just a Very Persistant Push saying in may take aDay a MOnth AYear but I will still be a PEST TO GET MY GOALS DONE !!! So your first step in asking for help is the First step to getting your goals done !! since no one is a iland we all have power by reaching bout to help each other achieve the best Goals for all of Us !!!! nycexpediter@earthlink.net

Can you believe these vutures name their association "Hands Off the Internet"? A blatent attempt to mislead an uninformed citizenery. If you read this, and are a user of the internet,free-speech,or a free-press.Look to "SavetheInternet.
com" for the facts,take action.

absolutely great show! write your senator, your congressman, govenor!! stop them!!! go to....to find out how!!

www.savetheinternet.com

I stand up to against your point, Mr. Cable guy.

Read again what Mike McCurry exactly was talking about here -- billions, investment, revenue, pay. He obviously did what he paid to do. Or say, he just acted like one of those telcom CEOs. $$ What else he can point out for real?

Nowadays, a good business should have society concern with its mind besides its call to its stakeholder. If you really look for something good for the long term profit, you need to do business the right way. Just because you decide to put in billions money ahead to build the new super highway doesn't give you the right to hijack the direction of the traffic flow.

Don't you consider the consequence on the public before you just look for $ return? Of course, they haven't really invested that amount of money yet. Not until they could get the bill they want. It makes perfect business sense -- you should invest more as your business grows. If they didn't make many times of billions dollar profit from now, how they could put that billions into the next building block? Yet they greedy want more so they want the control, the gatekeeper role, the unstoppable money & money.

To all cable guys, running such investment you’d better not count on the congress bill to give you exclusive return just because you could pay them to do so. Don't forget as normal poor people in this country, we have the right to vote for the right choice. Indeed, I contacted my congresswomen/men via savetheinternet.com . They all responded to support net neutrality. Let's really united and stand up to defend the internet neutrality! Only freedom lasts forever. It's the real human nature.

To be fair, I’ve split my screen so I can better reexamine Mike McCurry’s remarks.
Co-Chair of Hands off the Internet (?), “a coalition of telecommunication-related businesses” appears to be a misnomer, apparently named so in order to confuse people to think they are actually supporting net neutrality. 1. I find Mr. McCurry’s reasoning to be weak. It’s like saying “trust me, I won’t hurt you”, and seeks to lull the public into a meek and stupid position. As one person said, if he means for the internet to be open and neutral, why not just say so? I feel like we are being sold a false story, as the public has had so many false stories, for some time now (again, the misnomer gives it away). Besides, I believe the show pointed out that the telecommunications companies did collect money in the early 90’s, which was to be used to build the fast fiber optic system, the one that never was built. So where is the money now, as well as the compounded interest? Seems the money has already been collected. I find it interesting that other countries can build a fast system, and we cannot, even with the money collected years ago. Obviously there is a problem; it is not a technical one, whereby someone paying $9.95 is at risk of having a movie arrive slowly due to other activity (please), it is one of people in business and government who insist that the priority must be profit, excess profit, rather than building national infrastructure. And go on television to misinform. More of the lack of interest in the country overall by the top 10%, lack of allowing the free market to operate, even though the glories of the free-market have been preached to us endlessly, by that top 10%.
2. So Cohen represents hundreds of thousands of working men and women . . . Where is the thought process in this answer? Again, it appears fiber cable can work – in other countries. Where is the American attitude of “we can do anything; the sky’s the limit.” Now, the attitude is “let me check if my buddies can work out the profit line.”
This story has made me curious as to what Mrs. Clinton’s stand is on this issue. If Mike McCurry is fronting “a coalition of telecommunication-related businesses”, and President Clinton signed legislation to allow companies to create communication monopolies, why wouldn’t I examine, very closely, the position of any Democrat (as well as Republican) up for re-election, especially if they are associated in any way (including economically) with Hands off the Internet? Face it, if there wasn't net neutrality most people would be bored and not use the internet. It would be like corporate television; a waste of one's life.

It is all about network investment and earning a proper return on investment and has nothing to do with censorship.

How will the telecos make up for all of the legacy voice revenues that they may loss from VoIP (eBay makes it free, Google starts offering it free)...?

Where will the revenues come from to invest in all the bandwidth that will be needed to handle all the high definition video?

It seems very fair to me that the content providers who have benefit very well from all the network investment pay more. There can be ways to protect the small guys.

There really is not network neutrality today. Search engines all the time segregate information based on economics and who pays them the most. This is happening more and more. Even Google is making it hard to find info without them first getting a cut.

Simple solution for all those afraid of censorship. Why don't you take your tax dollars and privatize all the network infrastructure. Pay the owners of the networks fair market value. Then everyone can have unlimited access to do what they want with this common ground. Off course tax payers will have to continually pay to upgrade the network. I am not sure what would happen to innovation in this system. And your tax bill might be quite large.

Of all of big media's hideous trends (Pokemon, Britney Spears, George W. Bush), the worst has been consolidation. Ideology that allows corporations to run roughshod has done no good for the marketplace of ideas. I'd like to know what McCurry thinks will happen if, say, AT&T owned an even larger market share than they do now. Without net neutrality, wouldn't a new Ma Bell be able to control what nearly half of the country sees on the Internet? We don't have the diversity of choices we used to have with phone and cable services. Why should we allow them to decide who gets the "fast lane" and who gets ghettoized?

The big telecompanies are telling us that they cannot think of any other way to pay for the hardware than to put up toll booths. Are we to believe they are so stupid? No. But we would be stupid to believe McCurry and others who lie for them.

This documentary made me very mad, i almost felt like bombing some of those media companys after watching the show.

The internet would go down the tubes without net neutrality. Thats what makes the internet, the blogs etc..yet again shows how coroperations going after the money cut of thier nose in spite of their face, they will regret this if it gets thru

An excellent program to which I was glued. Unfortunately, as I turn in to bed, I am left with only one solution . . . boycott. Sounds antiquated, but in fact, our precious country is being polluted and destroyed by big business and its profit-making. Should the horrors we have discussed this evening happen to the Internet, that will be the end of its use for me. How very very sad, as I am an educator and enjoy the vast research ability of the net.

I wonder about our country . . . does it see itself bifurcating clearly into the have-control vs the have-no-control groups? Does the have-no-control realize just how much control it does have? In fact, we everyday citizens have massive control, a truth that was nicely shown in this fantastic program. In short, the strength of American Democracy has always won the day, though sometimes at a steep price. Now might be another one of those times.

Jolanda has it right!!! Get rid of your landline, get broadband, change the way you access media, and for god's sake, READ A BOOK!!!

I wonder how many of us have read or remember that fabulous yet horrifying foreshadowing of times to come in George Orwell's 1984? In fact, it is not cliche to call upon this text--after all, it was government who held central control over everything--media, education, employment, cigarettes, the very life of Winston and everyone in Orwell's world. In 2006, we have a duopoly of control--big business and a greedy government posing as a democracy, both of whom, in fact, ONLY ONLY WORK FOR THEIR OWN INDIVIDUAL INTERESTS AND NOT THOSE OF THE PEOPLE!!!

I think it's time that the people stand up and say NO MORE!! We have been told, shown, taught in schools by centuries of history and writing what will happen if we don't make our voices heard loud and clear!! We must seek to break up duopolies, monopolies and excessive corporate control.

My God: are we moving to a world where our government and corporations will poison us from all sides--environmentally, through our food, politically, medically/pharmaceutically? Can I just have control over myself, please?

Everyone out there--keep sending your emails, making your calls, writing your letters, showing up to those town meetings. Don't give up, or we are all doomed. I will continue to spend my several hours a week sending those emails hoping that CORPORATE GOVERNMENT will not cut off my access. Please do the same everyone.

An excellent program to which I was glued. Unfortunately, as I turn in to bed, I am left with only one solution . . . boycott. Sounds antiquated, but in fact, our precious country is being polluted and destroyed by big business and its profit-making. Should the horrors we have discussed this evening happen to the Internet, that will be the end of its use for me. How very very sad, as I am an educator and enjoy the vast research ability of the net.

I wonder about our country . . . does it see itself bifurcating clearly into the have-control vs the have-no-control groups? Does the have-no-control realize just how much control it does have? In fact, we everyday citizens have massive control, a truth that was nicely shown in this fantastic program. In short, the strength of American Democracy has always won the day, though sometimes at a steep price. Now might be another one of those times.

Jolanda has it right!!! Get rid of your landline, get broadband, change the way you access media, and for god's sake, READ A BOOK!!!

I wonder how many of us have read or remember that fabulous yet horrifying foreshadowing of times to come in George Orwell's 1984? In fact, it is not cliche to call upon this text--after all, it was government who held central control over everything--media, education, employment, cigarettes, the very life of Winston and everyone in Orwell's world. In 2006, we have a duopoly of control--big business and a greedy government posing as a democracy, both of whom, in fact, ONLY ONLY WORK FOR THEIR OWN INDIVIDUAL INTERESTS AND NOT THOSE OF THE PEOPLE!!!

I think it's time that the people stand up and say NO MORE!! We have been told, shown, taught in schools by centuries of history and writing what will happen if we don't make our voices heard loud and clear!! We must seek to break up duopolies, monopolies and excessive corporate control.

My God: are we moving to a world where our government and corporations will poison us from all sides--environmentally, through our food, politically, medically/pharmaceutically? Can I just have control over myself, please?

Everyone out there--keep sending your emails, making your calls, writing your letters, showing up to those town meetings. Don't give up, or we are all doomed. I will continue to spend my several hours a week sending those emails hoping that CORPORATE GOVERNMENT will not cut off my access. Please do the same everyone.

I've seen a few comments that compare what is going on now with what happened with radio, television and newspapers. Big difference is, with the net, anyone with a computer and a connection can get their view out there at minimal cost. Anyone can make a website, write a blog, voice an opinion. I don't think that was ever quite so easy with the other mediums. There are similarities, but this is a much bigger issue in my opinion as the net, up until now, really has been for everyone. Anyone, anyone at all can get on the net and make their voice heard. It really has given every person a voice in the big world, a voice others can hear. I have loved what I've seen happening with the web over the years, so many options, so many voices to listen to. I've learned so much, had my eyes opened, been able to communicate with those I otherwise may never have had the opportunity. And the big corporations want to take that away, or make us pay a lot more for it. If other countries can do it, and do it better, why can't we?

Mike McCurry comments: I won't point you to opinionated sites the way Ben Scott did -- you are a savvy bunch and can get your own info . . .

Mike is correct. We all pay an ISP, some dial-ups, some DSL, some broadband. We all used to get free tv on VHF and UHF in exchange for watching commercials for 15% of the broadcast. Now, we pay for the privilige and the percentage of commercials to content has increased. I used to pay $12.00/month for a phone that included local and long-distance and now pay nearly eighty for the same service.

Ken Lay, rest his soul, was another one against "too much" government regulation. He "won his case" by dying before the appeal could be heard!

These guys'll do anything to win.

But we can all agree with Ronnie Reagan "Trust but regulate."

First I'd like to say that I was watching a major television station, while wondering what had happened to a program I intended to watch on WHYY, when I kept flipping back and forth between the two. Once I had seen soemthing of interest, such as MoyerS on America:The Net at risk, I was immediatiely hooked. The show I was watching held no light up to this program, I am glad I found it.

Moving on...

Is it possible for us the free people, to get any control or say in the process of legislation over Net Neutrality without worrying about the lobbyists? I fear there isn't. So, I am now wondering after a many thoughts that I have, is capitalism to blame? Did we put this upon oursleves, to allow our people to be controlled, by us for our own personal gain?

It is all quite messed up, and turly, I think there is no end.

"I have to wonder how this will affect pbs.org? If they can't afford to pay more to access the 'faster pipes', would a 'live' discussion like this be possible? Also, what about non-profits which provide information through the Internet to those who can not access their services because of lack of physical transportation? Most non-profits are already short staffed and strapped financially."

Molly, nobody's going to make you buy it, just like nobody makes you use FedEx or the mail system. I could switch providers if I really cared to.

Sure, I complain about my Comcast connection, but like I complain about the weather. It ain't perfect. But as I've said already, my digital cable package is pretty sweet. NFL Network runs the past weekend's games without all the timeouts -- I couldn't get that 5 years ago.

In short: Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

Can you imagine if the companies that built the highways, owned the highways and charged toll rates that stifled commerce, only there was no other alternative in your community. Now imagine they charged for the right to drive as well. That would describe the situation consumers would face if the major telecoms and cable companies got their way.

For too long, the vital telecommunications infrastucture of our nation has been abused by corporate interests, with approval from legislators who are often under the influence of lobbyists. These legislators have seemingly forgotten they were elected to protect the public's interests.

The time has come for citizens to take back control of their elected representatives on this issue. Without the internet, the people would not have the ability to express themselves freely. Just look at the freedoms we have begun to enjoy in the last decade.

The internet's unprecedented freedom of access has allowed my brother and I to start several budding internet-based companies. That is the definition of the American dream. Not some corporate lobbyist's concocted story. The only enterpreneurs they care about are their highly-compensated CEOs.

To save network neutrality, urgently contact your U.S. Senators to inform them that you OPPOSE passage of a pending telecom bill (formerly S.2686, currently designated as H.R.5252, since it is being offered as an amendment to the House telecom bill.)

Just watched the program and thought it was great. I have already emailed my Senator and hope many others have the same reaction.

What have the telephone companies said when asked what happened to the fiber network promised in the early nineties? More importantly, what became of all those tax break dollars given back to fund this infrastructure? What Congressman, Senator, or regulatory agency has asked these questions? I think the independent radio operator (Brice) in Louisianna was awesome and a hero!

The program was excellent.
I work in public safety communications, and no one has yet mentioned the impact of a non-neutral Internet on the increasing use of VoIP for access to the 9-1-1 network, or IP based devices such as text messaging and Video Relay Services for the deaf.

9-1-1 will evolve and incorporate packet-switched access to the emergency network as well as providing traditional circuit-switched access.
My concern is that there will be no planned way to allow for routing of an emergency call from an IP device to follow the fastest and most direct path to the appropriate 9-1-1 answering point, unless net neutrality is preserved.

Considering the historical deployment of new technologies without regulatory regard for their impact on emergncy communications (until it's too late, i.e. cell phones and VoIP telephony), I believe that we who are preparing for the advent of "next generation 9-1-1" require more than just calm reassurances from potential Internet profiteers. If it can't protect, it shouldn't be marketed.

Yeah, bomb the shit out those high pay telcom CEOs with 300 millions annual bonus. Ask them to give you a damn for your internet opinion or freedom.

To that dumb Philip on top, Google do not segregate information based on economics and who pays them the most. You'd better use more Google search and Google adwords or SEO before you run your big mouth. VOIP is creative enough to cut your phone bill. You don't like it. Keep use your old dialog phone -- listen I'm giving you a bomb!

having been on the internet since the days of when we form small groups and called them a BBS. I can't begin to imagine why anyone would want to control something that is our ticket to a new age. Some time ago I was encouraged to write a little something on the internet. I discovered I had a talent for writing, (if not for spelling), that was fifty humorous stories ago.
No, here is where I draw the line and this is where I make a stand

This is all about democracy vs. greed. We need to preserve any and all democratic forms of media we have left, like the internet. Corporate control of the media is already out of hand, which limits the ability of the people of the country to have access to real information. Democracy requires an informed public. Greedy coporations (who are making enough off the internet) would be at odds with democracy if they have further control of information flow.

Thanks to everyone of you for joining in the conversation -- to Ben Scott and Mike Mccurry for taking so much of your time to provoke it and the rest of you for provoking them. The broadcast is over but the argument isn't. Keep in mind that on this and any other issue facing our democracy today, the only thing that will level the playing field is when organized money is countered by organized citizens.

Bill Moyers

Mike Posited:
Those worried about losing a voice only need to worry about the lack of bandwith capacity if there is no broadband to carry things like the telemedicine applications we saw at the beginning. That won't happen unless telcomms invest billions in upgrading their pipes. How do we propose to pay for that? Someone must. If you argue that the public needs a critical infrastructure like a high-speed internet, then have the courage to say it should be a public good, public built and regulated like a utility. That's what this program argues. Who on Bill Moyers' team is willing to stand up and put a public price and a revenue solution to that argument?

Hello, that is what a free market will provide at possibly the best cost - if you believe in such things!

With convergence and so much competition between wireless and fiber, companies that do not make the investment in bandwidth technologies will be left behind, they do not need government subsidies and regulated monopoly status to do this, it is already happening!

Lots of great comments after a terrific program from Bill & staff (as usual). It's amazing & invigorating that we finally have an issue that is uniting so many of us. In a time where our government is the lapdog of corporate interests and everything that isn't nailed down is for sale, it is incumbent upon us to be the voice of government, not merely passive citizens - we can't wait for the FCC or Congress to do anything for us wrt this issue, nor does self regulation EVER WORK. We must be heard via email, print, radio and TV, because if we lose the ability to be heard without hurdles or filters, we've lost everything this country stands for. I don't want to live in a China-like situation where the government cracks down on dissent, while big business is allowed to operate in a quasi-capitalistic money orgy. But then I digress...or maybe that description hits a little too close to home??? Anyhow, viva NetNeutrality and free speech!! Cheers....

Dear CosmoReaxer:

I don't think I spoke clearly enough. Who else would have to pay more to make their sites more easily accessible or run faster through 'the pipes'? Not just google.com right? Would it be anyone or any group with a website? And then those who provide services through the Internet, services to help low-income people maintain a minimally decent lifestyle, those like the working poor? I'm not really concerned about whether you can see past reruns of football games or not. The issues are much deeper.

Not a very balanced program!! Too much fear mongering about censorship. You need to explain the economics of the communications industry to real get a feel for the topic. More representation from the other side of the debate was needed. Zero metioned about the erosion of the legacy business of the telecos and the squeeze they find themselves in of their legacy business going down, while there investment requirements are going up.

Great find ways to protect content from censorship, but don't stop the network providers from earning a return on investment.

You cannot be too hard on the communications industry, as it is the reason you are currently on the Internet, and this is a pretty moral industry. They do not kill anyone and are not poluting the plant. The communication industry is responsible for spreading ideals and information around the world.

So does anyone out there wanna know why AT&T and BELL SOUTH IS STILL IN BUSINESS AFTER THEY STOLE $128 MILLION IN PROFITS? For the same reason why no one really went to jail for the ENRON fiasco? For the same reason why those of us who are 40-something probably won't collect a penny of social security? WHY IS IT OK FOR CORPORATE GOVERNMENT to steal our money? Why hasn't the FCC fined or sanctioned the phone companies for taking the cash but not providing the service? Had we ordinary citizens done such a thing, it would be time to take up residence in a 9 x 6 cell.

I hate to be repetitious, but I am one of those "insane" Americans who believes in keeping the old car rather than constantly buying a new one; who hates the fact that I seemed to be trapped with a $1200 bill every two to four years for new computer equipment and software just to keep up; who boycotts bad corporate citizens like Coke and Walmart passionately. Now, I will have to add another one to my list--AT$T and BELLSOUTH, and I might have to just cross off all big corp telecom providers.

We could get the phone companies to build the infrastructure tomorrow. Just turn off your phone service!!! They'll have that fiber-optic network done in about two week's time.

Mike. Mike, Mike ... do you take us for fools, or do you take the audience for fools? What could the blogosphere possibly ever "cover up"?

Indeed this is the first real coverage on national (television) media that we have had on these issues.

But I suppose you do your job very well. Keep spinning, it is entertaining. The more outrageous the spin the more likely it will distract us from the facts. Or so you may dream.

"We could get the phone companies to build the infrastructure tomorrow. Just turn off your phone service!!! They'll have that fiber-optic network done in about two week's time." -Melissa Kemp

"Yeah, be home between 5am and 10pm and we'll come by and hook you up, and get our money flowing again!" -Teleco worker.

We wanted to show our support and stand with everyone on this issue.

Alaska Native and American Indian Issues
http://cooday8.tripod.com/issues.htm

I would like to nominate Bill Moyers for President in 2008 right now.

Remember when we believed TV news and we didn't even comprehend the thought that we couldn't for any reason? This is how I can see this playing out. They will slowly change until something so odd wakes us up. Such as the supreme court deciding who our president will be. That's what woke me up. Until then I didn't have a clue. If this becomes a done deal there will be absolutely no hope for any kind of democracy for America. We are almost, if not already, living in a fascist country. We believe we are first in everything. The internet is the only thing we have to inform us, if we do our research, that we are far from being the first in many issues. This is too important for us to not tell others and implore them to take a stand and contact their representatives BEFORE the election and let them know it may well be a deciding factor for them on who they vote for. Make them stand up and be counted for. Insist that they let you know how they stand and also insist they hold true to their word. There is a website now where you can go and view their stand on issues. Actually, come to think of it, net neutrality is one. http://www.vote-smart.org/issue_rating_detail.php?sig_id=004044M Click on their names and then to the right click issue positions. Hold them accountable.

I encourage everyone to read Alan S. Fintz's entry at 10:51 PM. He addresses excellently the core issues at stake. Thank you Alan. And thank you Bill Moyers and Ben Scott for doing your part to sustain democracy through the dissemination of information and the invitation to debate. Long live the voice of the people. We cannot allow the resource controllers control our flow of ideas. NOW is the time to bring this to the larger audiences that may never have given any thought to the media giants that are consuming them.

Mad mad 2

nice comment... with that mouth I can't believe you are a PBS viewer...

I never said that all companies pay google... i understand the search logic. i only said they are making it harder to get to the information you need without running through a gauntlet of ads, preferred search and many other tricks they are increasingly using to extract revenue...

What is staggers to the mind is that there are still individuals who support the deeply flawed “free market idea” of the Internet. These are the same cynical individuals who apply this same principal to every social issue. Clearly, they did not pay attention to the part of the show that addressed the historical parallels to the robber barons in the beginning of the twentieth century. Much like the Internet today, telegraph, railroad, and electricity were new technologies that were hampered by these barons. Simply stated monopoly capitalism does not work, period. Further, anyone who states that we the people should pay for the new fiber optic system did not pay attention to the fact that we already did. The Teleco’s had the money they needed when they had a 128% profit margin in the 90’s to invest in the new fiber optic system. Apparently, they preferred to buy more politicians, media outlets, yachts and “golden parachutes.” Yet, these companies will get everything they desire because they are “individuals”, according to the amendment to the constitution. Just remember ungrateful citizens of America, billion dollar companies have feelings too.

I live in a rural area and my choice of net service is exremely limited and very costly. There are no plans for highspeed access for my area and probaly won't be for decades if ever. Anyone ever heard of the Rural Electrification programs from the past? I remember my grandfather telling stories about the day they turned the lights on. Our government has lost its way and we should tell them this now and reiterate in a few weeks at the polls.

I am losing enough freedom to politicians, I don't wish to lose any more to robber barons.

It's clearly time to demand the opening of more low power AM and FM licenses... and it would be interesting to see if NPR would reverse it's position on the issue.

How come we the people elect these officials, they immediately go and start working for big corporations and lobbyists?
Dont they know we the people can also throw them out. As many of them will probably never come back to DC in the coming election.
A million people is just the start for Net Neutrality, as more and more people are going to join this tidal force to recon with.

My heart goes out to Lyn Miner. Like many other Americans today she ask "What can one very concerned citizen do to stop this"? ironically the very medium she uses now to make her plea may soon be out of her financial reach, and that of countless others. Where can we point our fingers in blame?, greedy elected epresentatives in Washington DC and isp. The truth is that companies that own the networks should maximise their profitsnin return we should benefit from better speed, reliability ect... it won't happen. In the new "McCarthyism" that emerged after 9/11, we gave-up too many freedoms to our goverment and they in turn changed the general collective. The thinking goes something like this... We know what is better for you so don't resist. Why should we be surprised when media companies adopt this in their buissness model. for better or worst ( my opinion is for worst)net neutrality is gone for good. the old men in goverment and big companies have won. I have no answers, all I know is that in 15 years when I retire on a sandy beach in Mexico I will think back and remember how we let elected officials screw up the internet.

Maybe Bush was right. The internets are here.

Molly:

As to whether any given organization or company will want to buy this kind of Internet access: Depends how much you want perfectly streaming video. YouTube is on the low-end of quality, so wouldn't need it much. Google itself is all text -- it wouldn't affect searching, and pbs.org would continue as it is, but if they wanted to stream high definition video -- then they'd sign up for the premium access. Seems like a reasonable proposition.

The NFL Network was just meant as an example -- my viewing choices have only increased a thousandfold since the early 1980s, and net neutrality has nothing to do with that continuing to increase.

Whoa! I just glanced at my e-mail and noticed a live debate was stirring here on net neutrality. I can't believe I missed the show!

I'm probably much too young and uninformed to dabble with major issues such as these, but I do understand the importance of network neutrality. And I also understand that it's currently being endangered by greedy, blood-sucking corporations.

So, if only for a moment, I'd like to express my support for a democratic and unbiased Internet. I'm afraid I can't really entangle myself in this debate, as the night grows late and I must continue working on this essay (besides, as mentioned earlier, I lack the know-how to debate properly).

But the e-mail said it was very important that I show up, so I did. After all, of all the beliefs one can stand up for, net neutrality is one of the few I'll defend to the bitter end. Keep fighting the good fight, everyone!

Mr McMurray, how much are they paying you and others to do the dirty job of depriving us of our freedoms and basic rights?
Please do not let a handful of companies control the internet. The airwaves have already been auctioned off to the big companies, wether be radio waves, cell phone signals (G3), TV stations. last frontier is Internet. Why? For a few dollars in your pocket, you would sacrifice all our freedom of information exchange?

To Dr. Shaya,
well, let's see. If you could walk in on your first day in your medical or non-medical practice, whichever it is, if at all, and say, "Hello, I say we use this form of medication." and well knowing that the other medication type will work just as well, and get paid more than you would in your career in 5 years(maybe a little exaggerative), wouldn't you?

The answer is simple it's money. You need to get rid of the money in the political system and enforce constitutional law that prohibits lawyers from attaining positions in government. Further, you need term limits for everyone, starting with the congress and Senate. Generally, most of these congressman and senators do not understand or care to understand the social change s involved with technology. This country has no need for 98-year-old Senators and Congressman who thinks the Internet is a bunch of “tubes.” Your time has passed gramps time to retire and give someone else a shot at governing. There are many other solutions, but these are a good start.

If a national video franchise bill passes .. which is what the Telco lobby wants... what happens to the cable-access based community media networks?

It's a big question. If Telco's can provide video service outside of municipal oversight .. the cable companies would want to operate under the same policy. What say would local government have in assuring universal coverage as opposed to cherry-picking the market or digital red-lining?

How can we establish a sensible communications policy without public input and an extended public debate?

It's time to open a deep dialogue on Communications Policy ... from ownership issues to common carriage to spectrum policy grounded in the science and technology of the present day as opposed to the propertarian view where the value is in excluding others from use of what is at base a public good.

I wonder if it would help if we all voted for anyone except the incumbent for 3 or 4 elections?

Do you think Congress and the Senate might figure out who they actually work for?

Has anyone noticed that Mike McCurrey has never responded to the assertion that the telcos failed to provide the fiber infrastructure that was promised in trade for the tax breaks in the early 1990s. Maybe he (and the telcos) thinks that we will just forget about that broken promise and the associated windfall profits...

Dr Shaya Lakhavani, you ask "How come we the people elect these officials, they immediately go and start working for big corporations and lobbyists?
Dont they know we the people can also throw them out."

Problem is, we often don't. We just keep voting the same folks back in over and over, regardless of how they stand, because they are one party or another. People often don't look at the issues hard enough, and if their representative is actually working on their behalf.

It is so unfortunate to see the concentration of media outlets and the resulting demise of genuine public discourse. Not only is the exchange of ideas and points of view restricted, but the conglomerates controlling media outlets are able to control the content and frequency of the message being diseminated to the public.

How is it possible that Americans have so quietly given up access to public airways? But then again, how is it that Americans have so quietly surrendered to the federal executive so many basic rights afforded them under the Constitution?

This can not be allowed to go unchallenged.

So Bruce K.... where can we get our refunds for the network they never deployed?

Everyone needs to be careful with the term “opening a dialogue.” What this usually entails is a compromise. With issues such as Net Neutrality there is no discussion as to what is right or wrong. Net Neutrality is right and must not have compromise. Therefore, there is no discussion.

The show presented a series of truly idealistic people who think that government can provide better communications services at lower cost than private industry. Where is the evidence that the ability of government to build a network on time and on budget. Since when will government be able to rapidly change with technology and need. Telecom companies are not making profits at a rate any higher than maonstream corporations. People keep speaking of greed. Where is the greed here ? The profit percentages are fair and in line, especially considering the massive capital investment required. I should also note that the telecom companies pay a million employees and retirees. Why is it a good idea for government to hire its own droves of new government funded workers ? Who is going to pay for all of them (and thier retirement)? And if government funds a competing newtwork that artificially undercuts private industry - we all get to fund the retirement benifits of these new government workers - and bail out the telecom workers retirement plans when government artificially drives down profits. I don't think I have ever seen a report more one sided and devoid of logic. The net neutraility fear mongering is also a crock. These issues will never occur. If they do in some distant future generation - thats why we have regulators and lawmakers. I would have liked to see a more logical, balanced discussion of the fiscal facts.

This nation has become a victim of the economic theory of Capitalism. A Capitalism nurtured and favored by government regulators and legislators. American Capitalism has not been allowed to operate in that much vaunted "free market" and has grown bloated and increasingly greedy. Conglomerates are immobilized by their avarice. Spending resources on lobbying rather than Research and Development results in a paralyzing inertia. Capitalistic welfare will not keep our nation competetive with the world. The internet needs to be neutral, the internet needs fostering and the protection of a government that can't be bought by media conglomerates.

Tony Saint @ 11:32 PM

I don't understand how anyone would want to give more decision-making power to companies like AT&T after the NSA wiretapping scandal. Keep in mind that AT&T never publicly denied they were assisting the Bush administration in illegally tapping American citizens' phones. Now phony "grassroots" groups like Hands Off want to see that the telecoms get their big payoff. It seems that the end of net neutrality is payment for cooperation with illegal spying. How could anyone align themselves with these people?


BINGO, Tony, BINGO
Worth repeating, imho.
Thanks for connecting that BIG dot.

WOW. What a list of responses. I could only scan, there was so much, but I too was riveted on the show, forgoing the 11 o'clock news. The potential for limitation is immense. My thanks to all who got the show together and aired. And add my voice to all who support NET NEUTRALITY.

You will also note that neither McCurry nor his paymasters are asking for a wide public debate on these issues... if they believed their positions had economic and scientific merit and aligned with the public interest they would welcome such discourse. They'd rather play the system - in congress, at the FCC, in state legislatures and public utility commissions.

They wouldn't need to rely on implied threats either ... our Congressional representatives are subjected to a great deal of belt-way advertising. This issue-advertising is an implied threat ... Telco's and Broadcasters can and will very easily take these issues back to the congressional districts should the Sentor or Representative vote against their interest...

Please save our internet.

Thanks for such a great show. Let's support real competition and put our trust in real capitalism. Support Net Neutrality!

Consolidating control of resources demonstrably undermines equity and diversity. Exploitative enterprises always prioritize control of communication among members of their captive populations, if allowed to do so.

The discussion of the railroad Robber Barons era, and how we decided that fairness and profit were not incompatible, was quite appropriate and informative.

Fairness, in the case of Net Neutrality, rests upon the common carrier concept. We all currently pay for network infrastructure creation, expansion, and maintenance; the cost is included in our access fees. Variation in transmission speed among content host sites would be unfair, impair competitiveness, and irretrievably destroy the "public square" property of the Internet. Some things, once broken or lost, cannot be repaired or recovered.

Corporations will do whatever the law allows, and much that the law forbids, as recent history teaches us. And worse, when they purchase our government officials or write laws - because in doing so they undermine our confidence in both our system of government and our marketplace.

We get the quality of leadership we accept, in direct proportion to our attention span, memory, and willingness to take appropriate action.

"Thank you for commenting.

Your comment has been received and held for approval by the blog owner."

Why was my post withheld? Am I being censored?

[Editor's note: Every once in a while the system seems to flag comments for a reason know only to the software -- I get an email too and approve them asap.]

Oh .. in regard to telco's paying retirees ... let's think about the Telco retirees who went door to door in the Tri-cities (near Chicago) telling their neighbors they would "lose their jobs" if the Municipal Fiber referendum passed.

Do Telco's make relatively more money than other mainstream corporations? We'd have to do an econometric analysis ... but it's clear that we dont have real competition in their sector ... and it's clear that under a policy regime that they have drafted the USA has fallen each year in broadband penetration. As mentioned in the program other nations are getting more than 100 times the bandwidth at the same price.

Beyond that those countries are investing in the next generation of connectivity beyond that ... we'll still be working on catching up to where they are now and they'll be 100 or 1000 times faster than they are now.

And yes, so the Telco's emply a lot of people.

If they built out the Fiber at the rate they need to to make us a competitive nation, I think they'll need to keep employing a fair number of people... or if they don't do it but the market opens to greater competition as such networks are deployed ... there will be plenty of jobs in that sector.

How many jobs have been downsized with all these mergers? Does anyone think there is any loyalty to the employees of the Telecoms in their corporate offices?

And returning to the retirees... the over-all policy of short-changing pension plans runs rampant across corporate culture. It was the responsibility of the corporation to establish and fund the pension plan per their agreement.

Don't use that issue as a scare tactic.

Telecom's have made an art out of FUD.

First, despite my prior free market comment - let me say that I don't belive in 100% zero regulation on business. There is always need for regulation of some type. So long as it's logical and doesn't end up causing more harm than good. The debate is really where to draw the line. If people are going to take the massively expensive step of trying to compete with private telecom by building government funded networks, they really need to think hard about it. Money is not in infinite supply. 125M just for Lafayette ? Multiply that expenditure by a thousand cites - each doing this on thier own. Yikes ! Let's also not forget that if the demand requires more than two competitors in a given city, there is always the next Gen of wireless and powerline based delivery. Despite some industry consolidation, there are still a host of potential high-speed wireless providers out there to compete. Add in satellite, plus experiments with lighter than air wireless platforms. Who knows what else may happen in the future? The telecoms can't do anything truly bad since there are a thousand competitors waiting. Government getting into the game will simply pull capital out of the private sector and dimish both progress and competition. Why should people invest in new wireless and satellite technologies if they think governemnt is going to undercut them and drain potentential profits ? Investment will dry up. It doesn't matter if you don't like the system - it's the economic system the west uses. Regulation has to work within it's framework. (And we all know how well the alternatives have worked.)

This show provided tremendous insight into the further erosion of 1st amendement freedoms by a few overreaching corporate thieves.

This show provided tremendous insight into the further erosion of 1st amendement freedoms by a few overreaching corporate thieves.

Thanx for the Show. Thanx for the overview of the Underneath. We insult all who have given their lives for our American Democracy by $elling out our Freedom thru the Lobby door. Time to kick their $ out.
Thanx Bill for heads-up.
Drix

i'm an analog kinda guy but i noticed that the net gives the private person a public forum for the first time in some distance, that alone should scare the pants off most professional politicos. i think a good example of this disscussion is the radio consolidation. certainly a disaster for content, and sucessfully freezes out the indie effort. the concept the one could have a public voice and not be vetted by the powers that own the media is the real issue no matter how it's disguised.

The Internet MUST be kept 100% neutral. This must be prioritized in the budgets, and paid for with raised taxes, if need be.
Thank you for the great show - you have increased my awareness! The tendancy for corporations to set the rules to their advantage must be reversed.

It would have helped if at the very beginning of the program Moyers would have stated exactly what is meant by neutrality. We listeners could then have compared what each of the individuals were saying to see if they to were thinking of the same subject.

Thank God for the Park Foundation and Mutual of America and their unswerving support for Bill Moyers.
We were completely unaware of the sad state of our fiber world, another little bankrupt piece of corruption to leave to our children.
It does seem that voting in large numbers, despite the efforts to purge voter lists in key states, will either bring change or the chaos needed to resolve so many recent disasters.

In all this talk about big media companies controlling all, I did not here one mention about Community Access TV. It's not just the stuff of "Wayne's World!" There are excellent political commentaries, local news and information, local governmental meetings, and community events on those channels. Community Access Television is one of the very FEW ways that the average American can have access to the television media. It is Democracy in action!

Thank God for the Park Foundation and Mutual of America and their unswerving support for Bill Moyers.
We were completely unaware of the sad state of our fiber world, another little bankrupt piece of corruption to leave to our children.
It does seem that voting in large numbers, despite the efforts to purge voter lists in key states, will either bring change or the chaos needed to resolve so many recent disasters.

The first part of the program was of great interest. If I ever knew, I had forgotten, that the telephone companies had "promised" to upgrade infrastructure. I am limited to dialup because, although there is a fiber optic line just past my location, the phone company has "no plans" to offer DSL in my area. I tracked it down by persistent calls to my telephone company (Verizon). I was informed by the final person that I was not supposed to even receive this information!

What can anyone do to hold their feet to the fire on the infrastructure issue?

I continue to send emails to my congressmen in support of net neutrality, but I've never even received an acknowlegment. They are both republicans, and so far as I can tell, support the cable/telephone companies.

IF the telephone companies FAILED to deliver a promise that they were legally bound to deliver, then they should be sued to deliver what they promised, even now. (the failure to deliver the upgraded infrastructure.)

Though the subject is network neutrality, the underlying conversation is really about POWER, whether it belongs to the people who use the internet or to corporations and those who profit from them.

For those who watched the film "The Corporation" you will recall that corporations mostly fit the profile outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manula of Mental Disorders as being psychotic. The question then becomes who would you give the power to control the internet to, the users of it or corporations.

This whole issue boils down to one thing, and that is will we accept a censored internet. The big telecommunications companies(AT&T, Bell South, etc...), could give a tinker's damn less about censorship, and if fact want the internet censored. Why? Because there, in their view there is no profit in free speach. I cannot present enough information in one post on here to convince anyone that this is the case, but if people will check out this one article http://infowars.com/articles/ps/internet_eu_moves_kill_net.htm
there are enough links in it to other article to give one an idea about what is up in regards to internet censorship. Some 240 some odd years ago, a group of Patriots arose and threw off the bonds of a despotic government, and created an anomaly in history; a government designed to PROTECT INDIVIDUAL LIBERTY; they must be hanging thier heads in shame when they look down upon what their decendants have allowed to happen to that government.

RE: Brice Phillips, the radio fellow who helped the people in Lafayette, Louisiana--I don't know how to contact Extreme Home Makeover, but I wish someone who does would nominate Mr. Phillips so that the show would repair his home.

RE: a concept even more fundamental to democracy than the excellent parallel with the robber barons and railroads-- in the "Rights of Man" Thomas Paine argues for the right of citizens to form a democracy on the basis of "equal access" to their Creator (i.e., authority source) RATHER THAN TOLLS (economic, military, or otherwise)imposed by one human being setting up that person's authority over another.


It is scary that people that have no idea about how the Internet works are making laws for it. The one gentleman towards the beginning of the programming talking about traffic jams caused by "super downloader" and the different types of media whether it is text, audio or video. Well, he is wrong, all information is transfered over the internet in packets that have a size limit and it is all data. It does not matter if it is a 4Gb movie or a 3 line email.
I want my Internet freedom back and where is my highspeed?

I am not particularly amazed that they want a corporate or governmental chokehold on the internet. Few people have spoken about the far future effects of an unregulated internet. If left in its present state, global bidding for goods and services, labor will tend to develop a world equilibrium. This could create such things as a "world minimum wage" or a "world standard of living" or standards for world healthcare. It sounds far-fetched, but I am projecting quite a number of years into the future. The meaning of this is that the holdings of countries eventually become evened out, and the meaning of national borders become less and less relevant. The U.S. Government is far from stupid in knowing this. they can't outrightly stop the internet or censor it. This is one step to confuse and adjust the economic direction in which the world is now headed.

Telephone companies failed to provide the fiber infrastructure that was promised in trade for the TAX BREAKS in the early 1990s. Ooops!!! (((( ACT NOW! They must deliver what they promised! ))))

Sadly choices made from "principles" are so far removed from the majority of our nations leaders they'll use our rights of choice as bargaining chips to get re-elected. And pat us on the back while they do it.

I was glad to see this program air.

Re: it is scary: It's even scarier that they are drafting legislation over a LOT of other things they have zero knowlege of. Unfortunately, if the big telecoms get their way, the ability of the people to learn what the scoundrels in the district of criminals is up to will end.

Because the telephone companies have been charging us for fiber optic infrastucture but chose to pocket the money instead of deliverying on their promise, I think we ought to let private enterprises or cities run with it.

I show Moyer's "Free Speech for Sale" in my critical thinking classes. I would like to see the matter of corporate America's free use of the digital spectrum raised loud and clear this election period--specifically because--as I recall from that program--if we charged fair market price for use of the digital spectrum, we could afford to provide universal health coverage for the nation's citizens.

Thanks for the great show, Bill Moyers! Remember years ago when we had our local programs and personalities and local news and people reading it who sounded like us? THIS is what I miss. That little fellow in Lafayette is a saint! Let's all send him money to rebuild his house. Shame on Habitat for Humanity for not thinking about it. He has saved countless lives! I am writing to the FCC and to my representatives, if I can still call them that. These conglomerates have gotten too much of us and we are going to have to kick back at them any way we can. And if it takes a new FCC to do it, let's get those ass-kissers off the corporation and put some real americans on it.
On ward and upward, Moyer!

Corrupt Republicans have already greatly endangered our future by passing legislation for special interests in exchange for huge political contributions. For example, we are behind many other countries because we don't have fiber optic infrastructure. Save net neutrality now! See http://www.Democracy-Now.us

Corrupt Republicans have already greatly endangered our future by passing legislation for special interests in exchange for huge political contributions. For example, we are behind many other countries because we don't have fiber optic infrastructure. Save net neutrality now! See http://www.Democracy-Now.us

The implementation of FUSF recovery fees some years ago may have been a test to see how much they could put their finger in the pie. That went along basically uncontested, leaving room for these new concepts of regulation. LEAVE THE INTERNET ALONE!! PS Verizon, I hope the EFF sues you all to hell for spying on us!

RE:I am not particularly amazed: You have the right idea in the sense that you are trying to take a long range view of what they are up to, but you missed the mark as to their intentions. The attempt the censor and regulate the internet is due to the fact that a "global govenrment" is already being set up, and the only real resistance to it is on the internet. The first steps towards creating a "global government", have already been taken: 1, The United (usless would be a better term) Nations, 2, The E.U., 3, The North American Union, which is being formed now without the knowlege or concent of the vast majority of Americans, and 3, the recently announced Asian Union. Does all of that sound too far fetched to believe? Do some research on it while there still is a free internet, you'll be suprised at what you find. Here's a few url's to articles that may surprise and shock you. http://www.renewamerica.us/columns/vernon/061009
http://worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=52357
http://worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=52467

Much appreciated, Tom!

Re: Much appreciated: You're welcome! I hope some of those links will help others as well. The only way we have of getting this country back is if people will inform themselves, and then demand a return to Constitutional government!

Re: Much appreciated: You're welcome! I hope some of those links will help others as well. The only way we have of getting this country back is if people will inform themselves, and then demand a return to Constitutional government!

Re:Corrupt Republicans: Yes the republicans are corrupt, but don't think for a minute that the democrats are not just as corrupt and equally as culpable in the demise of this country. In truth there is actually only one political party (I'm not addressing third partys here) in this country. Yes, I know they have two different names, and the retoric is different, but look at the effect. One "party" proposes something that the other party calls extreme, and the other party raises nine kinds of hell saying they will oppose it to the death; then what happens? They "compromise", which in reality was a prearranged deal, and all the growling and speachifying, and cussing and complaining was nothing more than a show put on so that the people think their party did what it was supposed to. Sound cynical? Maybe so, but it's realistic, and I've paid close attention to politics, government, and history my whole life. Robert Lewis Dabnew also observed this about a century and a half ago: ‘Conservatism's history has been that it demurs to each aggression of the progressive party, and aims to save its credit by a respectable amount of growling, but always acquiesces at last in the innovation. What was the resisted novelty of yesterday is today one of the accepted principles of conservatism; it is now conservative only in affecting to resist the next innovation, which will tomorrow be forced upon its timidity and will be succeeded by some third revolution, to be denounced and then adopted in its turn. American conservatism is merely the shadow that follows Radicalism as it moves forward to perdition. It remains behind it, but never retards it, and always advances near its leader. This pretended salt hath utterly lost its savor: wherewith shall it be salted? Its impotency is not hard to explain. It is worthless because it is the conservatism of expediency only, and not of sturdy principle. It tends to risk nothing serious for the sake of truth'.......Robert Lewis Dabney

RE:Fiber Optics. I remember in that ten year old book "The Road Ahead" by Bill Gates, there was an included CD-ROM. On it, there is a picture of a skyscraper with the letters BT on it - British Telecommunications. Apparently, the UK was fully fibered that long ago. The reason the US hit snags was an ongoing battle for which HDTV format to make "official" LOL your tax dollars at work!

I would love to join in with those that drop their landline, if only I had a choice. Every 6 months I contact the phone company begging for DSL. I am 1/2 mile too far from the switching station.

This is 2006, almost 2007, and cable is not even available to me. It stops 1 mile from my home.

Most of the satelitte channels have gone digital and so instead of $800 for an upgraded box, we dropped our service.

I am angry that many of us American's are being left behind, skipped over and still get to pay our share for everyone else to enjoy faster internet speeds and a larger variety of television shows.

Watching the show tonight has made me even angrier that the infrastructure promised has not been delivered.

All that money spent on lobbying, what a waste.

I want to move to Lafayette, where they aren't afraid to fight the big dogs.

Thanks for the opportunity to express the loss I feel as I watch the rest of the world speeding away from me.

Mike McCurry responds:

**"from the consumers’ perspective, the real-world consequence has been: Absolutely nothing. Zero. Zilch. That’s why these black-helicopter scenarios from neutrality advocates that “sometime in the future” there might be different levels of service on the Net are so questionable"**
**********************************************************************


How incredibly short sighted. It's offensive that Mike McCurry thinks he can use the soap box tactics of talk radio to manipulate the viewers of PBS. This is not the blind sheep of the Limbaugh (et al) crowd. This highly controversial ruling is only a year old. Does anybody really believe large corporations are stupid enough to add fuel to this fire? Of course not. They will wait until the concern is swept under the carpet and forgotten about like these things so often are. We cannot subscribe to these short sighted attitudes. We all understand that the erosion of our freedoms happen in tiny pieces, over long periods of time. We need to be looking at what this ruling is going to do to us in 10 years, 20 years and 50 years down the line. Are we really to believe that because nothing has happened YET that it NEVER will? What kind of reasoning is that?


Mike McCurry responds:

**"Look, let’s remember that consumers still enjoy vast legal protections to access the content of their choice. First, the FCC has put forward four principles for online neutrality and all the major broadband providers have pledged to uphold them. Second, you also have state and federal laws against things like tortuous interference, unfair competition and antitrust. And finally, you have the FCC itself saying that if there is discrimination against consumers, it has authority to take action."**
*****************************************************************


Expecting the FCC to uphold these principles is not even rational in thought. The point is, I cant stop laughing when I read that the *major broadband providers have "pledged" to uphold the principles set forth by the FCC*. Oh. Well since you've "pledged" I guess we can all just rest easy.... I wonder who “pledged”? The CEO's? The ones that will be retired multi-multi millionaires in a few short years, only to be replaced by new carbon copy's? Seriously, if there are so many processes in place to stop the discrimination of content dissemination than why was it so important to change the "RULE" into something more akin to a "Guideline"?

So, why is it so important that the net neutrality rule not be reenacted?

Mike McCurry responds:

**”
1) America is ranked between 12th and 19th in the world in terms of access to high-speed Internet services.

2) We ought to be focused on doing everything possible to encourage more, and more affordable, broadband deployment.

3) We ought to be focused on doing everything possible to allow technology to prosper and advance.

4) We ought to be focused on doing everything possible to make the operations of networks more efficient.

5) If we passed the legislation pending in Congress about net neutrality, armies of lawyers and lobbyists ON BOTH SIDES would spend the next 3-5 years trying to make sense of the rulemaking.

6) Meanwhile, we won’t be making the investments that will give us the Internet that we need to handle the bandwidth requirements that are just on the horizon.”**
***********************************************************************

There you have it folks. The top six reasons to stop the horrific net neutrality rule from being re-enacted. That’s right, the American people are up in arms over their inability to have access to, or to afford high speed broadband internet services. And many are having sleepless nights over the internets inability to move enough content. Worse yet, apparently the networks aren’t efficient enough. And it’s not advancing fast enough. And finally, the number one reason Americans should be concerned over the senseless brutality of the net neutrality rule: “technology” isn’t prospering enough.

Somehow I don’t see these as major concerns of the backbone of America. They sound more like concerns of large corporations to me.

I fear for democracy and freedom when arguments like McCurry’s are taken seriously.

Keep the red states red and the blue states blue. If everyone gets broadband, they're sunk! LOL

It seemed like the show and the entire issue boils down to two main points: (1) that the technology exists for everyone to enjoy internet speeds of 45mbps, but that service providers, for whatever reasons, have failed to deliver that level of service to average users; and (2) the rest of the show focussed on the net neutrality debate.

Would Mr. McCurry and Mr Stein both please tell me exactly how they see point #1, that is, 45mbps for everybody, happening if their views were to prevail. For example, I would like Mr. McCurry to tell us how the so-called "separate toll road" concept would accomplish 45 mbps. And how does he respond to the charge that such toll roads could curtail innovative sites like YouTube etc.
I would also like Mr Stein to explain how net neutrality will accomplish 45mbps. Exactly how do we get these private companies to make the investment?

Let's stop blowing hot air at each other and get down to brass tacks.

Also, this may be totally off base, but what about the piracy issue? I always thought that the file sharing problem is why we didn't have fast internet yet. Is it possible that the toll road concept is an attempt to deal with the piracy problem by simply putting more money on the table for the copyright holders? Just wondering . . .

I beleive that keeping the internet free of control will enrich the lives of people in all of Candada and the USA.

Thnx 4 the show...
It gr8 that this travesty has been highlighted and the FCC and Congress should change or improve the net neutrality to save our internet from this sinister movement from the conglomerates

Paul
Calgary
Canada

Sorry I haven't had time to read everyone's comments. I couldn't understand why Rick Carr didn't directly pose the question to Mike McCurry that he voiced in narration: what about those billions your clients received in tax write offs in return for the promise of an uptodate infrastructure? Any thoughts about why he didn't? (by the way, does anyone know if Bill Moyers' staff reads these comments and respond?)

To Robert Louis Dabney: There is no doubt a lot of overlap between Democratic and Republican immores. But Bush's time in office ought to remind us that there is a difference between the two parties. Liberals tend to give others the benefit of the doubt and look for ways to bring all of us together; we are uncomfortable with polarization; theologically, we prefer the emphasis on Unity over separation. Conservatives generaly feed on polarization, believing the world is inherently divided into the people of light (with whom they identify themselves) and the people of darkness (all others). But conservative theology is predestinarian, so they believe that in the service of their beliefs, any action that strengthens their side and weakens the other is permissible, even if legally ambiguous. Then they call that "hardball". Personally, I regard it as plainly immoral, but it accounts for the high number of republican scandals being revealed. Gordon Gekko is the true guru of republicans: greed is good. satan couldn't say it any better.

To sum it up, there is a difference between republicans and democrats. The democrats could still become more like the republicans when they return to power, but I think their electoral foundation will be shakier than the republicans if they go too far...
---Kenrick

[From Taylor Willingham and Kristin Miller regarding question, "by the way, does anyone know if Bill Moyers' staff reads these comments and respond?" The answer is YES. In addition to the two of us, two other people are monitoring these comments on a regular basis and trying to respond to questions as they arise. We will try to get a response to your question about Rick's interview with McCurry.]

What a GREAT show. It seems the citizens of this nation are being conned and OUR politicans are selling us out from LARGER campaign contributions.

Net Neutrality means no discrimination. It says that the Internet’s gatekeepers don’t get to choose which Web sites win and lose or which go fast or slow -- they must be neutral.

The first biggest myth put forth by Mr. McCurry and other opponents of the free and open Internet is that Net Neutrality is some new and burdensome concept or regulation. That’s a lie. Supporters of Net Neutrality want Congress to reinstate the nondiscrimination rules that have always kept the Internet a level playing field and allowed economic innovation, democratic participation, and free speech to prosper online.

The second biggest myth is that “there is no problem.” This is a brazen attempt by phone and cable companies to fool the public. There is a problem. Top executives at the nation's largest phone and cable companies have repeatedly stated in news reports that they intend to impose new tolls on the Internet -- to create a non-neutral network that would extend special favors to the companies that strike deals with them and discriminate against the rest of us who don't. The absence of the non-discrimination rules that had been in place until 2005 is a BIG problem.

The third biggest myth (told to those who are aware that Net Neutrality was dismantled in 2005) is that the Internet continues to function as it always has — the sky has not fallen since Net Neutrality was eliminated. But that’s because phone and cable companies like AT&T, Verizon, BellSouth and Comcast have tried to be on their best behavior as they ask Congress to pass a law permanently eliminating Net Neutrality.

The fourth biggest myth is that Network neutrality regulation would threaten the massive new broadband investment that telephone companies need to make to bring the U.S broadband service back up to speed.

There is no economic reason why Net Neutrality must be sacrificed to develop infrastructure. "The pipe companies claim that unless they can start charging, they won't be able to invest in the next generation of networks," former Labor Secretary Robert Reich recently explained. "Well that's ridiculous. They're already making lots of money off consumers connected to the Internet. They just figure they can make more money charging the big content providers for the best service."

These companies will build out their high-speed networks whether there are Net Neutrality rules or not. And -- as Bruce Kushnik demonstrated on tonight's program -- they're already being handsomely subsidized with taxpayer dollars to do just that. And now they're claiming poverty?

No. One way or another, telephone companies will upgrade their copper wires to compete. The only reason they claim the need to get rid of Net Neutrality is because they see an opportunity to extract monopoly rents from a new source.

Let's not forget that these are the same companies (AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth) that recorded more than $85 billion in gross profits in 2005.

For these corporations, killing Net Neutrality is just icing on the cake of a U.S broadband market that’s already in their grip. Clearly they don’t want more competition, just more control.

Not a very balanced television show. Just teleco bashing like this blog.

The censorship issue is b.s. It is being perpetrated by interest groups that are supported by big Microsoft, Google and Yahoo. They do not want to have to pay any more to support the Internet, which thanks to the telecos and cable TV companies is broadly available today. The profits and wealth that is being made by Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft is significantly more than the meagre and declining profits at the telecom companies.

There is no motivation to censor content, as consumers will eventually just go to the ISPs that provides the best content. The diffent ISP options are multiplying everyday (wireless, cable, teleco, ???, etc.). Google is in fact building out its own WiFi network.

Increasingly, the issues that should concern us are not the specter of terrorism, the economy, global warming, national health care, social security, or sex scandals among the stories hyped by the media. Rather, our primary concern should focus on a dysfunctional government and the absence of meaningful –and ethical -- representation by many of the public officials we elected.

It should be obvious that the lack of truly representative governance is at the root of the many problems that are affecting each state, each region, and this nation. The self-serving arrogance and indifference to the majority of the electorate by much of the local and regional leadership in this nation is just one part in the ongoing decline of legitimate representative democracy.

Political power has increasingly shifted to a well-funded minority of large corporate vested interests and dogmatic ideologues that regularly dictate governmental policies and processes with detrimental effects on our lives and wellbeing. This self-serving corporate plutocracy has been undermining our rights and privileges for far to long. As part of this process legitimate democracy has become an illusion.

We are not being properly represented and the legitimate needs and desires of the majority of the American people are certainly not being met. The continuous decline and corruption of our system of representative democracy is clearly due to the continuous need of politicians to obtain campaign funds.

This corruption of the democratic system is exacerbated by an entrenched oligarchy of large corporate interests that supplies the bulk of campaign funding to the politicians who provide them with the services they demand. With this corruption come the attempts by many of those in power to reduce -- if not halt – the natural expansion our civil liberties, our collective rights and our individual responsibilities,

The most effective way of reducing -- and ultimately ending - this endemic corruption of government by the well paid representatives of large selfish corporate interests is by eliminating all the private campaign contributions that corrupt elected officials and distract them from providing their constituents with the services they demand. This should also help us from being diverted from considering substantive policy issues by the highly emotional matters promoted during elections.

Initially, our aim should be establishing an effective system of non-partisan voluntary public funding of candidates for national, state, and local public office. We should also gradually empower the public through an incrementally progressive system of continuous national citizen based initiatives and referenda on all the substantive public policy issues that affect our lives and the lives of all future generations.

Representative governance must be administered by ethical career professionals selected by a fully informed public electorate on the objective basis of the candidate’s legislative and administrative knowledge, skills, abilities, and desire to serve the public. In order to administer our government effectively all public servants must be obligated to continually provide the for the legitimate rights, needs and services of the majority while preventing abuses to the rights of minorities.

All legislators and public administrators should be required to periodically take comprehensive written and oral examinations that demonstrate their qualifications, competence and continued understanding of the public's evolving needs and desires. The results of such examinations should be the basis of critical and objective examination by the public without the pervasive bias and superficiality of political advertising. Only then can the people of this nation make the fully informed value judgments necessary to insure meaningful representation by our public servants.

Empowered self-governance is clearly the most meaningful and fulfilling form of governance. Our ultimate goal should be a system of direct democracy with optimal and ethical self-regulation administered by career public servants dedicated to serving the public. Objective evaluations based on critical thinking skills must reflect our growing abilities to make the fully informed ethical judgments necessary for the increased controls we need to promote a political, social, and economic environment that enhances our eternal desires for ever greater self-determination.

How many of us are willing to work toward those goals?

Opponents of Internet freedom – like the broadband network owners who pay Mike McCurry's salary -- argue that Net Neutrality is unnecessary because there is enough competition in the broadband market to deter bad behavior.

Put simply, they say that if AT&T or Verizon degraded access to a site or created a discriminatory "fast lane" that consumers didn't like, they would lose customers to competing network operators in the area. For this theory to work, consumers must have robust competition and multiple choices for broadband. Such competition doesn't exist and won't anytime in the foreseeable future.

A recent study by the Government Accountability Office found that the median number of providers available to a given household is just two.

That's right. Most Americans have access to two or less broadband providers. That's all. Cable and DSL systems dominate, holding more than 98 percent of the broadband market.

A significant chunk of the country has only one broadband provider available, and around 10 percent of households have none at all.

This is hardly a competitive market. In fact, the miniscule share of the market held by all the other broadband technologies combined -- satellite, fixed wireless, mobile wireless, and broadband over power lines -- actually decreased over the past few years, according the FCC.

There simply is not enough competition between different technologies to produce any kind of deterrent to discrimination. Without Net Neutrality, the telephone and cable duopoly will leverage its market power over the network to gain control over the content and application markets, establishing a handful of giant companies as the gatekeepers of the Internet.

If both the local cable and telephone companies are using their networks to discriminate (and they have stated their intent to do this), the consumer is trapped. There is nowhere else to go.

I enjoyed your program very much. However, I still don't understand how the lack of net neutrality is going to speed-up or slow-down the access to the websites I like to visit. The examples that you mentioned, the mega-companies such as yahoo and google, are only search engines, but do not give me access to the internet.

I would just like to say how unfortunate it is that we are even having this 'discussion', with that being said the citizens of america need to wake up and acknowledge the state that our precious liberties are in. They are in jeopardy and we are fortunate enough, right now, that we are still living somewhat in a democracy, and as far as I know we have the right to take what is ours and that includes the internet!!

I would just like to say that it is sad that we have to worry about the internet being 'free'. What can we do to change the way money rules the laws of the land?

Fabulous show. If only it could have broadcast widely on network and cable!

Alex - you need to remember that the speed of access is determined not only by your connection, but also the content provider's connection. If, let's say, PBS did not pay a lot of money for a very wide and fast connection on their end (something that allows A LOT of data to flow), we would all have experienced very slow connect time to the PBS site. Or, even worse, we might have gotten a message telling us they can't handle the traffic, come back later. You see - there is already a regulatory process in place since we all choose how much bandwidth we want to pay for. Charging for a "fast lane" is, essentially, double dipping.

Now, if the carriers can section off a fast lane, they can also control who has access to the fast lane. If, let's say, Verizon can dictate how much bandwidth a particular company or person may buy, and they favor one over the other, someone gets an unfair advantage. So imagine Verizon building their own search engine or cutting a deal with one. There you have it - they will give preferential access to their own over an independent. That's the danger.

IMO, this is the turning point for democracy in this country. Either we keep this communication medium open or we all drink the kool-aid and be done with it.

Being so far down in comments, I hope this doesn't get lost... Several key components have been missed, namely K20 schools and education which relies heavily on streaming and h.323 videoconferencing for distance learning. Internet2 efforts help, but state networks, like our Badgernet BCN network in Wisconsin, threaten local access and cut off communities.

As for this discrimination not happening, you already can see it. Try to watch Deutsche Welle via streaming. US IP addresses are now blocked as Time Warner AOL threatened their broadcast agreement. I used www.TVersity.com to watch streaming on my TV since I can't afford digital cable - now not only are all of the US news sources owned by conglomerates, they block foriegn news services. Sounds rather Iron Curtain to me!

I have several books in the works about this subject, mainly because I can no longer work professionally in telecommunications due to the propaganda that flies in the face of truth these days. There are great comments in the public feedback here. We all need to know more about what is actually going on with this, and Bill Moyers is heroic in his efforts to shed more light on the socalled inforamtion superhighway (pun intended). The end game in this battle began all the way back when Mr. Moyers was working for President Johnson in the 1960s. Tom Carter won a lawsuit that gave birth to both wireless telephone communication and more open competition that in turn spawned new common carriers like MCI and Sprint. Since the early 1970s AT&T hasn't done much of anything that could be honestly construed as honest competitive success or promotion of their own inventions, such as the transistor, T1, and UNIX, to name a few. When people shun the notion that government can promote competition better than private business they are simply wrong. The government built the Colorado River Project that supplies water to the desert southwest. No company would have done that. The government built the Federal Interstate Highway System, and the FAA air corridor management and airport infrastructure that is the airline industry equivalent of highways, and they built the best telecommunications network in the world by outsourcing the work to thousands of telephone companies that have been systemically reduced in numbers to a handful in much the same way that local broadcasting has been taken over by outsiders like Wal*Mart has undercut the Main Street USA small business infrastructure by volume scaling of commodities that they sell for less. Telcos differ in the fact that as they take over markets the prices go up. Always! The telecom industry plan is working because the public has been innundated by misinformation such as that being put forth by the other Bill, Mr. McCurry. As competition began in the telephone industry in the 1970s the former CEO of AT&T, John DeButts spoke to an industry gathering I attended and when asked about competition he said, "I only have 1 customer, NARUC". NARUC stands for National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. Mr. DeButts and his successors have been relentless in this pursuit, and the FCC and individual state regulatory agencies should be held accountable for the ways they have allowed the local interests of their constituents to be compromised. Where is the news coverage about this? Why are states allowing privateers to dominate local communities like Lafayette, Louisiana in their efforts to simply continue their optimization of local public works like streets, roads, and highways? The public must recognize that the telco smokescreen is just that, a misrepresentation of facts, and that there are many, many professional experts who can provide a clearer set of facts about Universal Service that in terms of internetworking is Net Neutrality..... Thanks again for the these great shows, especially this one.

What I really want to know up front is: When are the companies who charged for the fibre optic lines in their fees to consumers and also gathered in billions of tax reductions, going to give the money back to us? Hmmm

The story about Hancock Co. only low power radio signal during hurricane Katrina was completely engaging. I'm so glad my friend in Va. encouraged me to watch your story about saving the internet from govt. dabbling. Dr. Moyers and crew, thanks for your efforts to inform the US.

To Timothy Karr:
I hope I can explain this clearly...Digital data is broken up into "packets". The packets travel across the world through millions of miles of cable, and thousands of pieces of hardware, which route it to your house.

It's a very simple matter to give each packet a priority level, dictating when and where they can pass.

It's very similar to a car getting from point A to point B, using all the roads available. Imagine what would happen if all of the traffic lights are red for 99% of the time to the people not willing to pay whatever the telco demands, and green 99% of the time for those who pay the most. Imagine also that the newly-paved superhighway is only available to those same people willing to pay, and the rest have to take narrow, winding side roads.

This is how they will slow down and block the information that you want, as opposed to the commercial information that PAID the telco to reach you.

Very informative info PoorRich! I would really like to read the book you have coming out on this subject. I know what the communication companies are doing is flat out anti-competitive and bad for every consumer but I don't know much about the history of how we have come to this historic moment of having to fight this David and Goliath type battle for internet freedom. Knowledge is power and every person that wishes to join this fight should arm themselves with as much knowledge about this issue as possible. The decision makers are counting on an ignorant or misinformed public in order to pass this legislation without being held accountable. Its up to every concerned citizen to prove them wrong by taking the time to become well informed!

Thank you for your good work to keep the internet free. This is critical. What is the single most important thing every US citizen can do to ensure this?

Mike McCurry said:
"“Regulating Net equality” may sound nice as a banner, but when you look at its practical effect, you’ll realize pretty quickly that in the real world it makes no sense. Ask yourself: Should Net users who pay $9.95 a month for ESPN films have to contend with a slower connection because others are using BitTorrent to illegally download “The Legend of Ricky Bobby”?".

So what is the poor shmuck illegally downloading a movie going to get for his $49.95/mo 6MBit or more connection? Those Telcom guys want to double dip. They want to sell the consumer an expensive fast broadband conection and the same time put limitation on what comes in fast and what doesn't. If the providers are paying for bandwidth, shouldn't the consumers get it free? If the consumer picks up the tab for bandwidth used he/she should not be limited to what they can get fast and what they can't.

Is the program scheduled to be rebroadcast?

To Timothy Karr:
They want to SLOW DOWN the websites that don't pay them much, or maybe they want to slow down the websites that compete with them, or they don't like. If they hated Google, or if Google didn't pay them enough, they could slow Google down to a crawl, so it would take forever to show up at your computer. That is what's at stake.


I enjoyed your program very much. However, I still don't understand how the lack of net neutrality is going to speed-up or slow-down the access to the websites I like to visit. The examples that you mentioned, the mega-companies such as yahoo and google, are only search engines, but do not give me access to the internet.

I have read many of the arguments here. The ones who defend recent actions claim how our FCC and anti-trust laws protect us. FALSE. Currently there is virtually NO enforcement of anti-trust infractions and they abound from beef and gas prices to telecommunicaitons. The FCC is a tool for the republicans and must be rebuilt from the TOP down. Furthermore to help combat bribes in the form of political contributions let's turn the tables on the networks, FCC and politicians. FIRST and foremost WE THE PEOPLE OWN the airwaves but one would not know that looking at how things have been running over the last 50 yrs. Let's make it so politcians can run thier ads at no cost. This will take the wind out of many sails. The networks seeing their main source of income vanish may be hesitiant to encourage opinionated news designed to encourage more purchased time by politicians. The impact would be huge. Our government is corrupt so anyone who claims any government protection is adequate is delusional. They don't enforce the big laws that protect us. Also americans have been paying outrageous amounts of money for services that don't work. Cell phones are a good example. They work sometimes yes it's getting better but at the beginning with all those very questionable contracts we paid and paid for very poor service. The internet is OURS and it should be made permanent that way. Broadband should be offered for next to nothing. All of the speed pricing in fleecing the public. It's time that the people get SOMETHING for their money. Cable companies have been awarded mini-monopolies, cell phones have those contracts that ought to be illegal, and the idiotic "local long distance" charges are absurd and out of hand. Add to this that phones of all types are now being used to tax us in an underhanded manner. The politicians any time they want extra money to work off a bribe the install another phony tax on the bill. That has to stop NOW. When all said and done it boils down to political donations that are in actuality bribes and there isn't ONE person of ANY party who is fooled by the "political donation" drivel given us. How can we the people get the attentions of an arrogant corrupt government? Start recalliing elected officals in every state. THIS will be the only way to get the attention needed, not to mention cleaning a very dirty house.

Hi Cat Landers and all, if you want to support folks like Bryce Phillips in Hancock County, or work to build a low power FM community radio station in your town, there are a number of ways to tell the FCC (and Congress) to expand community radio. Please visit http://www.prometheusradio.org and click on Take Action, or email us at hannahjs@prometheusradio.org, to learn more.

I am so mad at congress,fcc, that I am running agenst the incombent as a write-in

I tried to get on the ballot when it was open for names, but was not able to without money.

I have no money for the usual campaign advertisments so if the internet cost more, I would not be able to run and let my feeling be known.

I feel I have a chance if I can get my name and ideas out to the voters in my district. A free and open internet that allows people like me to get our views to others is vital for democracy and must be preserved. see www.hoodsale.com

This is typical of the manner President Bush is overrunning the concept of democracy in the USA. He is moving to eliminate independance from the people in the USA. Then, by controling the big capital companies and prohibiting areas where people can unite, he can control the country as a superior Caesar. This is taking a long look at the concept of neutrality, but ALL citizens have to take a deep view of how the process of freedom is being eliminated. I also wanted to know the titles of the two books written by Mark Cooper so I can read them. Please put me in touch with anyone who is working to fight this loss of net neutrality.

McMurry, I don't know if you're a double talker or a fool. If you think we believe any promises by the FCC, just look at the state of local media and think again! And the reason we are behind in internet access efficiency is that the same folks you're now advocating for LIED to us that they would build the needed infrastructure years ago, and then failed to do so and kept our dollars. Instead of defending them, we ought to be suing them for the return of the money we paid (one citizen at a time) for them to rob and lie to us as usual.

PoorRich

Your arguments are all backward looking. Technological change and new competition (particularly the erosion their legacy business) is the entire reason why there is even this network neutrality debate in the first place. What happens if telephony pricing goes to zero? What if Google/YouTube zap the cable TV business? How will these network providers continue to support their business and make network investments? The risks in the communications sector has increased exponentially. I think all the network providers are asking for is a more equitable commercial agreement between network providers, users of the network and content providers. They need to find new ways to generate revenue out of their network. The whole censorship argument is way out of whack (and can be dealt with if it actually pops-up) and is really being driven by the very big Internet companies (Microsoft, Google and Yahoo) to stop them from having to pay their fair share of the Internet infrastructure and to actually take some of the network technology risk.

Lots of conspiracy B.S. on this blog.

Joe Hall

If the system is so unfair and there are all of these monopolies then why are the telecos and cable TV companies making excessive profits? There profitability has actually been under pressure?

If broadband should be available for next to nothing then who is going to pay to wire fiber into your house?

Why don't you just push for privatizing the Internet network infrastructure. Use your tax dollars to buy the network at market rates. Then everyone can say they can use the network when ever they want, for what ever you want, as much as you want. And by the way as you start running out of bandwidth then use your tax dollars to continually upgrade the network. Lets call a spade a spade. What people are mostly talking about here is a socialist Internet. No problem with that, just your taxes will be quite high. It would also not likely be a system to spur innovation.


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Phillip - Microsoft, Google, Yahoo,YouTube, Amazon, Ebay etc. ALL pay hundreds of millions of dollars for access to the internet. The broadband providers currently make (and will continue to make) excellent profit providing NON-DISCRIMINATORY bandwidth. Its total BS that we must sacrafice Net Neutrality in order for the communications duopoly to invest in our communications infrastructure! Its great that private companies are making profit off providing NON-DISCRIMINATORY bandwidth but if they decide that its not enough profit for them then yeah I would rather move the entire internet under public domain then sacrifice net neutrality. I think most citizens would rather see our communications infrastructure moved under public domain then sacrafice net neutrality. However, since companies can clearly make large profits off providing NON-DISCRIMINATORY bandwidth its hardly necessary to go to such an extreme.

Here in mid columbia area, between oregon and washington the telecoms say they will update the infastructure if they can get a rate increase.

they get the increase but do not build infrastructure. When asked to start, they just sell to another company who says the same thing as the last company. Each builds new buildings and increase executive saleries but we are still in the dark ages with telcom.

It is the same with TV and radio; Back in the 1950's some foward thinking men from the hood river valley built the system to bring tv here. The only time it is maintained is when it breaks, and is only updated when they can no longer get parts or find someone who knows the antique equipment.

We are in the portland oregon tv market but they will not spend money to update us.

The radio station was started by the incombent congressmans family. The congressman has done nothing to keep it community. the majority is satellite fed, and the congressman bought up other radio stations that we can get here in the mid columbia. We no longer have a community radio station to tell what is happening locally.

We think we are in an advanced country. The telcoms advertise that we are. Now we need others to build the most advanced telcom- like we need for a train system,tv or radio.

Write-in Paul Nevin for Congress to get the mess going in the right direction as well as affordable inserance for americans, medicare, social security. see www.hoodsale.com

Raz,

Where is the large profit that network providers (telecos/cable TV companies) are making? Go look at their finacial results, looks specific at their margins and free cash flows. The point is that their traditional profit base is eroding. That is why the whole network neutrality debate even was started in the first place. The telecos are looking for new ways to make up for their loss of revenues. Ebay/Skype charging zero for voice, Google threatening to get in the video business with YouTube, which threatens cable TV companies. The telecos and cable TV companies are just saying that if the Internet companies are going to erode their traditional revenue base then they need to find new ways to generate revenues. A more equitable commercial agreement needs to be worked out.

Sure Google, Vonage, YouTube and others pay for access on to the Internet, but they do not pay nearly enough to support the continual upgrades of the networks, particularly if the network providers traditional revenue base continues to erode. The telecos are saying that they need to pay more. What is wrong with saying that maybe the Internet companies need to pay more as they walk away with their stock options and instant billionaires.

It is all about economics and has nothing to do with "censorship". Censorship is a red herring that the free market will sort out or can be dealt with with regulation. There are also ways to protect the smaller content providers.

Given most of your views, you should actually be pushing for a publically owned Internet then, rather than for network neutrality. Put your tax dollars to work by pushing for government to take over the Internet network infrastructure. Great idea! Governments are great at innovation.

If it was not for the communiciations industry you would not even be on this web site today.

My point is there has to be a more balanced reasoned debate. It is far more complicated then just fear mongering about censorship and the big bad corporation.

This PBS program appeared to be way to bias. It was just like most of this blog about bashing the communications industry, which has done a lot of good for the world. The communications industry is not killing anyone or polluting. They are responsible for spread ideas and ideals all around the planet. There is no reason that has to be lost. Big government network neutrality is not the answer.


Let government take over the internet? Heck, they can't run a war,how in the world do you expect them to run the internet.

I have been competeing in the payphone business for 21 years. My folly was to go up against the largest corp. ever known to man. AT&T has never been interested in having anyone in their business. Even though we are good customers, they are bent on our destruction.

My husband happens to work for a local telco, and let me tell you, they've got enough tax breaks, area guarantees, and subsidies for the telephony end that make their profits SKY HIGH. Explain how it is that when a telco gets subsidized *and* tax breaks in order to provide infrastructure that, in the end, they're losing money to provide what was, apparently, already promised? This local telco has such profitability, specifically in telephony, that they have to find ways to spend the money. You speak of Vonage, Google, and others who are offering VoIP, yet my own husband has developed for this small telco their very own VoIP system, and they're currently sinking thousands of dollars into developing the infrastructure. The point is that they understand they must bring themselves into the future in order to stay competitive - they've already done some groundbreaking work in the past considering their size and the area. This technology is not lost on them, nor can it be for "The Big Boys" (soon to be "Big Boy") who have lots of cash to sink into new technology.

The area of this particular company (based in California) that is not profitable is the cable department - they cannot provide a competitive product at a competitive price and are losing customers faster than their hair to DishNetwork and Directv (it was quite a battle in our house to go with Directv, but I made my argument). Their internet department is already profitable, yet they want to lose even the net neutrality principles in favor of tiering. They were practically drooling when this came about last year. This company provides telephony services, cable, and internet. Out of the three major departments only cable is not profitable. In earlier years their internet department suffered as well, but with the inception of their wireless and DSL services, that department's profitability has shot up. However, the Internet Group is not subsidized, so they have to earn their money - provide a better service for better cost. Capitalism in my book. Cable tv cannot yet do that, and it appears likely never will.

The government's role should be to provide checks and balances as a disinterested party, and that's what I write to my congresspeople and senators for. And, what is most important is that we be forward-thinking and do what is necessary to keep the U.S. a top world economic power in order to maintain our style of living.

Do we want the Internet to be like American radio, where one can drive from New York to Los Angeles and hear the same 10 songs, over and over again?

Do we want it to look like the pre-cable, 3-network model of commercial television?

It saddens me to see Mike McCurry working for the dark side, but I suppose everyone, even corporate-owned lobbysts, need to make a buck.

Still, the only thing more laughable than McCurry's assertion that corporations can be responsible cultural gatekeepers is his suggestion that the FCC is anymore an entity dedicated to protecting consumers (witness the zealously business-friendly administration of former FCC chair Michael Powell and his utter submission to media consolidation.)

A lot of good people work for telcos -- McCurry included. But corporations are designed for one thing only: profit. Corporate interests do not and should not be expected to protect public interests.

After all, without good legislation, Exxon wouldn't bother to clean up its oil spills and Enron would still be in business.

And it is bad legislation, like the Clinton-era Telecommunications Act of 1996, that enabled much of this mess in the first place.

Phillip:

Your thought that my points are all backward looking is quite insightful. Didn't you know that hindsight is 20/20? Actually it isn't the points I am trying to make, but the telephone industry arguments that are backward. They obviously want to recapture the monololy genie in a bottle, because it's the only way they know how to compete successfully. AT&T, IBM, and the major media networks have been losing market share ever since the technology explosion has forced competition upon them, and their self styled notion that biggest is best is like saying that a Chevrolet is better than a Lamborghini. People are smarter than that. The internet is like a 3 legged stool with 1 leg being telephone, another computing, and the 3rd the media business. The giants of these industries, AT&T, IBM, and big broadcasting all have dependencies upon one another, but would cut each others' throats in a corporate boardroom minute if they could get away with it. They all lick their chops thinking about taking over the other guy's portion of the pie, and they're playing a game of paper, rock, and scissors in this regrad. Let's say the 'media' are the papers, the computer biz is the rock (diamond in the rough), and telcos are the scissors. Each has their own strong play and a serious Achilles heel. The telcos weakness is the only sales pitch they know how to succeed with is monopoly. The computer biz has Stevophobia; they're scared to death of Steve Jobs and whatever he comes up with as the next new thing. Face it, Apple has steered the direction of computing while IBM has wallowed in the background drinking the Tex Watson KoolAid for more than 2 decades. The media by their own preferences are network dependent and frightened of what progressive telephony could do to their entrenched position in program content distribution. Everybody in the world want ala carte program content access except them, and let's not forget that broadcasting requires a license that mandates public service. All of these gargantuans have their own ideas about who should own the future, and you can rest assured they have no intention of letting it be you or me. Their common weakness is that all of these entrenched media manipulators favor centralized control of business that is technology dependent while the evolution of technology itself naturally evolves to become the antithesis of centralized control, ergo it's tendency to wax democratic in the long run. This trend is nature playing it's hand in the game, and the only way the corporate agenda can offset the inevitable is to stall, stall, stall, impede, postpone, and mislead. The iPod will soon contain a full duplex hispeed digital connection, and once this occurs the only way big biz can perpetuate the status quo is to claim that the progress violates them in some illegal way and sue, sue, sue. The music wing of the media biz is already involved in this tactic. Perhaps the bottom line in all of this is that all of the multimedia giants are dependent upon individual retail consumers for their bread and butter. It's pretty obvious that retail consumers account for 2/3 of the entire economy, and media is a subset of that. We have the technology to fix what's wrong, but it's an uphill battle when you have to fight city hall at every turn. If I'm backward looking Phillip, it's because my experiences in the trenches of digital network advancement have taught me that there is more unused spectrum in the existing digital network plumbing than we are currently using, and the arguments put forth by the media vendors ring falsetto and a more than a bit flat to someone who has walked in my shoes.I'm willing to wager that I can debate Ed Whitacre about what AT&T is all about and hold my own, and I'm certain I can make a better pitch for what's good for consumers, you know, those of us who pay for everything, and build everything, only to be ignored when corporate goodies are being passed out at the end of the day.

We have a fundament weakness in policy and incentive in this country. The information highway is in the control of a select few corporate gaints who 'righfully' jealously guard it. There is no incentive for them to open this infrastructure the limitless posibilities of communcations. this means that choice (liberty), the very foundation of this country is truncated. good policy would be to establish neutral stewards of our infrastructure, insuring equal access, costs, etc. in this way we maximize our ability to have the best information infrastructure in the world vs. overbuilding, and endless litigation battles. as a country we need to work together with our precious resources of time, capital, brain power.

its as if Toyota owned the roadways, and would not let GM cars on it unless they paid a toll. not a good system.

I just wish that political appointees were responsible for their own decisions. All too often, their choices are about a career path rather than about doing the right thing. They make the decision that will get them a good job, rather than the right decision.

Let's review: AT&T/BellSouth, the dominant cable companies and their allies want to force an anti-competitive business model onto the internet. Why aren't the so-called "free market" conservatives screaming bloody murder about this? Have they been co-opted like the blackmail-compromised, politically bribed US Representatives and Senators trying to rubberstamp this ridiculous corporate greed-grab? The mega-mergers of the telcos will be reversed. The concentration of media compaies will be reversed, but only if We the People get our collective act together, get off our soft, cushy asses, and get damn busy winning these 2006 midterm elections. Period.

Phillip,
Your mistaken if you believe I care about what happens to the profit margins of these behemoth greedy telecom companies. They have grown too big (yet again!) and are too willing to use their power to buy even more power from a corrupt government. I find it obscene that they are not satisfied with the profits they can make from providing non-discrminatory bandwidth. Its time we citizens realize the folly of allowing these mega giant corporations to exist and pressure our elected representatives to break them up and foster a market place of competition and innovation. My worry is that even if we win this battle for net neutrality how long will it be before these giants attack again?

This whole thing with network and internet rules change.
Started back when congress figured out the FCC could
be a cash cow. For years the licence fees were used to
keep the FCC running only. Then in the early 70's when
cell phones were just in their infantcy congress saw they
could make millions by auctioning off radio spectrum to
venture capitalists, for the new cell phone industry. An
it all went to hell from that point. The FCC was no longer
concerned with just licencing and enforcement of the
regulations. It was supplying cash to congress's pet
projects. And almost no body cared because few really
understood the very important job the FCC had intrusted
to it. Now alot of congerssmen say we can't go back. But
they forget we have repealed legislation befor, like
prohabision. But we need to make it so hot for all our
political reps that it's better for them to change it back.
Than it is for them to keep lining their pockets. Now there
are a few, both demacrats and republicans that are work-
ing to change it back, and they need our help.

Don't believe AT&T. All I have asked for is a level playing field; equal rates, terms and conditions. What I got were barriers to entry, bait and switch, predatory pricing and illegal taking of services without just compensation. STOP AT&T!!

Excellent program. As a conservative, who usually votes Republican or Libertarian, I am enthusiastically supporting the “Net-Neutrality” movement, arm in arm with my liberal neighbors and other conservative friends. If Washington State had a Republican Senator who was supporting the notion of “Partitioning (the internet) for Profit” I would not hesitate to vote against them.

Good as the program was, I was frustrated to see that they did not (or could not for time reasons) discuss the other obstructions that the Communication Monopolies have built into the legislation they are trying to pass. The bill currently circulating in the Senate, and being ram-rodded by (I’m sad to say Republican) Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska, creates federal laws that:

• Prevent municipalities (like Lafayette, LA or my home town in Washington State) from building their own municipal networks entirely.
• Permit the Communication Monopolies access to the right of ways (digging up streets) of any county and City without having to abide by the permitting laws of that jurisdiction. If they happen to damage a City’s water main or a gas line, the City has no direct recourse against the company to effect the proper repairs. All disputes have to be sent to and settled in Washington DC.
• Endanger a major source of revenue for small towns, namely the franchise fees and utility taxes. Taxes that will have to be made up by the towns citizens from other revenue sources.

I’m sad to see that protecting the fundamental underpinning of the internet, Net Neutrality, has become the cause of Liberal and moderate Democrats pitted against Republicans and conservatives. Senator Stevens seems almost fanatical about seeing this bill pass and will certainly try to slip it through during the lame duck session of Congress later this year.

The American people are starting to realize the depth of deception that the Communication Monopolies are engaged in, and will (unfortunately) have no one else to blame but the Republican Party for not stopping it. I hope the Republican Leadership recognizes this very visible political vulnerability and steps in and stops Senator Stevens from doing irreparable damage to MY Grand Ole Party..

I believe that Net Neutrality issue is most important in the developing world. There bandwidth is very expensive and ISPs should be able to charge for the type of traffic they are carrying: interactive TV, voice, web, email etc. This is particularly true when they are supporting international connectivity.

I don't think that there needs to be any global political process to support this.

The technology will make this possible, especially IMS servers and Next Generation Networks.

Keep the government out of this issue.

Will Foster, Phd

I believe that Net Neutrality issue is most important in the developing world. There bandwidth is very expensive and ISPs should be able to charge for the type of traffic they are carrying: interactive TV, voice, web, email etc. This is particularly true when they are supporting international connectivity.

I don't think that there needs to be any global political process to support this.

The technology will make this possible, especially IMS servers and Next Generation Networks.

Keep the government out of this issue.

Will Foster, Phd

According to the expert on the Telecom Promises, those baby bells STOLE $25 BILLION in the form of TAX CUTS, starting in the early 1990s. That was our money!

I say let them return the $25 BILLION and then they can merge, either that or they have to use the STOLEN $25 BILLION we all paid as part of our phone bills to upgrade every one in the nation to fiber-optic communications.

God Damn the Republican Congress and the Incompetent FCC regulators they appointed.

Michael,
Let's not forget that Bill Clinton signed the bill allowing them to steal even more. Let's quit trying to place blame. And
work together to fix it.

Mike McCurry seems not to have watched the program, perhaps he needs a faster internet connection. All of his arguments claim that network neutral legislation will cost consumers and slow rual rollout of high speed internet access. He claims it would cost an estimated $40 Billion for that highspeed access, and that consumers will have to pay.

WE ALREADY PAID $25 BILLION! The telecom companies failed to fulfill their commitment to put fiber-optic lines into every home in the US, yet they kept the $25 BILLION in Tax Cuts anyway.

Mike McCurry is just an appologist for these thieves, and is probably being paid off by interest on that $25 BILLION IN STOLEN MONEY.

If worst comes to worst the public can always form a co-op, start installing their own wi-fi or fibre and form a parallel internet service in NA (if you can get 10 million people interested).With that many people involved you can also lobby effectively.

It's pretty apparent reading through this massive list of comments where the average citizen's interests lie - and that is with MAINTAINING NET NEUTRALITY. Furthermore, as the FCC finally starts to collect info from the public, it also is becoming more apparent that the it has failed miserably in regulating the out of control growth of media and telecom companies.

Democracy is no more than the free flow of information to those who want it. If you want an extrapolated view into Mr. McCurry's proposed utopia, look no further than the sheltered citizenry of North Korea.

I want to stop the Lame Ducks in Congress from ramrodding this through, which they will no doubt attempt to do unless we are all very vigilant. Let me know what I can do to add my voice to the fray.

I want to stop the Lame Ducks in Congress from ramrodding this through, which they will no doubt attempt to do unless we are all very vigilant. Let me know what I can do to add my voice to the fray.

We all owe Bill Moyers a debt of gratitude for getting this conversation going. It's obvious that we the people are in favor of Net Neutrality, and as election day looms we have the opportunity to vote for candidates that favor the public trust rather than corporate special interests. Let's vote for government that respects the public majority and communities like Lafayette, LA.

Jerome Irwin, go to www.savethenet.com
There you will find a petition to sign, a list of congressmen and their stance on net neutrality and how to contact your representatives to let them know how you feel, and plenty of other information.

I have to offer the recounting of a personal experience that I think is relevant to this discussion. From 1990 to 2001 I worked in the telecommunications industry building Synchronous Optical Networks (SONET) Add-Drop Multiplexors which we sold to the telephone companies.

In the late 1990s I remember hearing the representatives for the Baby Bells put out their message that they could not open up their central offices to the Competitive Local Exchange Carries (like Covad) because, for one reason, there was no room in those offices. Congress apparently never thought to go look for themselves as I often ended up in those COs, as they are called.

What we have to remember is that this was the age of miniaturization. Technology was making everything smaller, faster and cheaper and that included telecommunications equipment. The phone companies had been upgrading "old iron" for new, cutting edge equipment.

In 1998 I walked into one CO and the manager in charge of that office proudly walked me through his equipment room showing me where he had replaced 1970s-era equipment that had probably consumed 200 square feet of floor space with something that consumed less than 50 sq. ft. I remember becoming incensed because I had heard representatives, perhaps even the CEO, of the same phone company testify that they could not give CLECs like Covad access to their COs because they didn't have the space, couldn't provide the power or ensure the security. Did I mention that the newer equipment usually, if not always, signficantly consumed less power too? And Co-location certainly isn't a problem in all the ISP data centers we have around the country.

It was my industry but they played a perfect strategy of delaying access to the necessary communication lines until the CLECs ran out of money. They killed any threat of competition and today I have two choices: my Baby Bell, who's now AT&T and a cable company.

I believe in a free market but I also know that free markets only work when there is access to information and robust competition. Just like a politician, a company is going to think of their survival first and the customer or constituent somewhere further down the list. As consumers, we can't be passive and expect that it will work out in the end. As Moyer's show revealed, we are being left behind in the Information Age.

When has the government intervention ever been successful when it came to proliferating business? It is the last vestage of true freedom in this country. It will probably be the only communication device in which we will be able to speak to other countries freely and possibly avert agression by this communication. Everything that man creates has a good and evil to it. It is up to us to monitor ourselves and use the talented people out there to help not the government. It is always about power and money. For once let us think about what it means to have freedom in communication. I don't think that my baby boom generation could protest as we did in the 60's because of the so called Homeland security. Where else will we be able to voice our opposition to what our government is doing if we don't have freedom of the internet?

lobbying = bribery = corruption. we will not have democracy,equality until we find a way to make selloffs in goverment accountable for their crimes. They get millions of dollars in exchange for favors that affect our kids,our wives, our husbands,our moms,our grandparents. Polititians who are cold blooded people go home with their pockets full, no questions ask, wlile the voters they have betrayed are soffering the results of corruption.

The big corporations must be controlled, outragious profits are being seen,(like BP oil) Government has opens a free for all throught the legal system. Tobacco settlement, the corps dont pay the fines , the remaining customers are paying for the sins of the corp.'s...and states have redirected the tobacco settlement taxes into their general funds.
A govt. by the people, for the people...Damn it , govt. allowed big business to ship our industry overseas, the service sector can not support the American economy. What has become of ethics?The shepards of the common good have opened a meat shop and lamb is on sale cheep....i am too tired to be doing this...can you tell...God Bless..yes , I said God bless...get over it....Oh BTW... comcast cable charges too much and offers too little..

Charlie Wichlacz, perhaps your blaiming Clinton because your a member of the party of corporate greed, I mean the party of big business, I mean the fiscal conservative party, I mean the keep them ignorant party, you know ...
the Democrats.

I'm a progressive myself. If we want to "fix the problem" let's start by shining some light on those who work for us, and post the schedule of every congresperson online.

Whoops! People will need unrestricted internet access to hold congress accountable for meeting and taking bribes from these corporate lobbiests, wouldn't they?

Network Netrual non-discrimination legislation would help provide some basic, foundational guarntee of free speech. I guess people will just have to WAKE UP.


My last question. How do other countries handle this question of telecom/internet providers? China? Korea? Japan?
Europe?
Africa?
South America?
Canada and Mexico?

I bet that those 18 countries with the faster internets have progressive governments.

The access to information is so fundamential to both democracy and indivdual freedom that it must be treated as a utility. Just as water and elctricity are now necessary for life, so is information. Equality of access assures equality of opertunity, and that alone give us equality of liberity, if not eqality of power.

An argument to legislate against internet neutrality is that we have the legal means to protect ourselves from exploittation. We shouldn't have to depend on filing a suit, going to court, fighting all the way to maintain our internet freedom. Freedom should simply be there.

I am so glad I live in Canada. Our Big telecommunication companies tried this a while back but unlike your bunch of sell outs down there our bunch of sell outs up here didn't sell us out on this. Too bad so much content comes from the states.
It strikes me that freedom of information, freedom of speech are all intrinsic to internet neutrality. Since you have already lost those battles stateside I wouldn't be at all surprised to see you lose this one.
BTW: Has anyone checked to see which of the big telecommunications companies backed which politicians in the last election and in the current one. Maybe this info needs to get out just so people know that there is no one out there looking out for the regular guy. Not unless that regular guy backed his local rep in the last election with a maximum donation. Also check to see how many employees donated possibly unknowingly. It wouldn't be the first time that happened.

Thank You to PBS & Bill Moyers!
Is history repeating itself?
The debate and struggle concerning "network neutrality" is a First Amendment issue. The courts will have an opportunity to weigh in on the issue soon. Unfortunately, not soon enough. The FCC has weighed in. Congress has weighed in - by the clandestine activities to "amend" their way to represent very private interests.
This has all happened before. And, after 20+ years of private and public investigation the American people recieved a Consent Decree inacted in 1984 of the U.S. Justice Dept Anti-Trust litigation vs. AT&T. The break up of the Telephone monopoly. Seven regional Bell operating companies,etc.,etc.,etc.
Again we have varied interests which will move our national policy toward monopolistic gateways. Then, after private citizens find the technology they are left with is strangling innovation,content,and access the courts will weigh in.
In the mean time, we will each find our freedom usurped.
It is the Courts that need to weigh in - and soon.

We must,as a Republic, protect our desire to achieve the Democracy we hold so Dear.

Maintain what's left now of Network Neutrality.

There's good commentary on the advantages of net neutrality, and the threats to same, from Doc Searls, a senior editor at Linux Journal magazine. To find some of what Searls has to say, google (search) for the keywords ["doc searls" "net neutrality"] (type everything in the [] brackets, but don't type the brackets themselves).

hey man that's not cool. i missed the airing of "the net at risk" im in vermont and not a lot of people know about this whole net neutrality thing. they should show it like every day for the next week. that would be sweet.

p.s
if any one has heard of free speach tv then you should like donate some dough to them cause there really cool. the other night i was watching this thing on fstv about the pharmacutical companys being all currupt and what have you, and they said that in order to continue there shows and stuff, they could use some money. i think the number was 1-800-fstv-now. get to gettin'

What concerns me most about the FCC decisions in favor of a few large
companies and the other decisions that are being made regarding the internet is that they appear to me to be sending our country towards a dictatorship much as how Germany fell into that trap in the 20s and 30s. Our Freedoms are being eroded by big business and megamoney - and people are being deceived into believing all is well. A dangerous sneaky trap.

I have been telling friends for years that the good old United States of America stopped being democratic. About 25 years ago.

it has since, become a bureaucratic government, not the one we were taught about in school.

We used to joke in the 60s during the Vietnam era. Calling America, the United States of America, a wholly owned subsidiary of Disney Corporation. Had we only known how truly That was, life might have been different today.

This is such an important subject, but most people I speak to don't have a clue what "Net Neutrality" is. Can someone come up with a one line explanation that would make net neutrality easily understood? For quite some time now I have used "Net Neutrality=Democracy" as a signature on my emails becasue I saw a commercial on CNN stating net neutrality is BAD for consumers. This horrified me because people who don't know what net neutrality is will just assume its something bad. We need to get the truth out to everyone NOW.

here in the state of new york, net nutrality isn't really an issue noticed by the general population, but our senators are in favor of it. the thing that scares me the most is that my elders, and many of my peers in college, dont know that this is battle for our democracy is going on. those of my friends that are getting the word out and telling people, are appaled at how little people know. not to mention that there are some who have been too blindsided by the fake grassroots to know what the net nutrality issue is. here on Long Island, me and my friends at college are having doubts that this bill will pass. It would rip apart what is left of the political system and remove the peoples ability to make an informed choice.

me and my buddies at college realise that if this doesnt pass, than the government no longer cares about the will of the people it governs. the only option we see is to move to Canada when the semester ends.

btw ROZ, how hard is it to get citisinship in Canada?

While I was watching the show, it occurred to me that sometimes anti-spam laws have also been used to curb net neutrality.

When I was helping email a large list of friends about debate watching parties with our Dean group during the 2004 campaign, I could only email something like 20 people per hour (maybe less.) Otherwise my messages would all bounce, so in some ways we have already lost that net neutrality.

I realize spam is a real problem, but I also think the way it is being handled hurts grassroots organizing and removes net neutrality in a crafty sort of way that most people are willing to put up with. And you don't really notice it, unless you are trying to inform people of events and debate parties, etc.

To learn more about this watch the short video The Death of The Internet

It's a wake up call!

The debate over net neutrality is based on the premise that the cable and telco companies have a monopoly gate-keeper position on the Internet.

Tbere are two choke points where they would have to be dominant and be able to maintain dominance for this to be true.

One is the last mile into consumers homes. The other would be the extensive backbone networks that knit cities and countries together.

The last mile is dominated by telcos and cable companies today, true. Doesn't have to be that way though and technology exist to quickly and effectively compete with fiber, copper and cable.

If the telco and cable companies are foolish enough to disregard net neutrality they would give other competitors a golden opportunity to offer a service at higher bandwidth and WITH net neutrality a cornerstone of their service and advertising.

Other methods of addressing the last mile include use of the gas lines to broadcast broadband to your home. The gas line would offer the same capacity as cable or fiber.

Data over power lines can allow you to receive cable, telephone and broadband by plugging into the same copper that delivers power to your refrigerator and lighting.

WiFi, WiMax and other wireless options can deliver the same services. One option just over the horizon , in my opinion, is millimeter wireless fiber that can bypass all gatekeepers and deliver gigabit speed right in a window over multiple miles. This last option, in my opinion is the most disruptive and least appreciated technology of the near future. And it is only of the near future because of a lack of imagination or sales ability in some entreprenures heart.

It is possible today to build a network that bypasses all gatekeepers, rural and urban and make the thought of net neutrality as a problem absurd.

Net neutrality is a problem only as long as the premise holds that the telcos and cable companies have some choke point they control.

Not only don't they but if they act on the beleif that they do they will provide just that much more of an incentive to those who will do an end run around them.

For the most part current telco and cable company actions suggest that they are still dinasaurs on the way to extinction.

That they are thinking of eroding net neutrality only helps to cement that notion in my opinion.

I'm actually VERY disappointed that this entire show didn't even once mention smaller players. I own an ISP in California and I'm a board member of the California ISP Association. There are still thousands of independant ISPs in the united states and we are relegated to the back burner (that's putting it nicely) by everyone. You want to talk about unfair practices...that's Unfair.

Oh, and there's something else that I just heard in the show... There already is something that regulates some traffic from others. It's called QoS (Quality of Service). Basically it is used to allow certain types of traffic to have priority over others. For example, Voice packets take priority over data packets since we need to hear things smoothly while a computer can compensate for a brief hiccup by asking for the packet again.

As a matter of fact your computer asks for a packet again more often than most people realize. You may have heard the term "Packet Loss".

Long story short, there's NOTHING wrong with the internet and it's controls right now. There are ALOT of smart people out there that build and develop this stuff specifically to prevent problems.

The problem here is that when the telephone companies were broken up, what SHOULD have happened is that the government should have taken the copper over and sold the services directly to whatever provider wants access. And this is coming from a person that wants a minimal government.

What the Telcos and Cable companies are doing is trying to muddy the waters enough making it LOOK like they are talking about something like QoS, but in fact they DO want to extract more money from content providers and control information and that brings me to the last thing I'll say....

Information is power, if you control what information gets out you have the power. Does the word "propoganda" come to mind?

Dear Mr. Moyers,
If you really want to find out how serverely Technology is under utilized and styffled by these corporations?? Talk to the Techies out there who are innovating and evolving the technology forward. All the outsourcing that's happening is a result of management cutting budgets and sitting on technology that destroy the luv that geeks have to push the technology forward. Also smothering growth.
Businesses are so sad because every year they claim they want to give the boardmembers their share of profit but they continue to shoot themselves in the foot because they are misled managers making decisions they are incapable instead of consulting their Tech team. Company Tech team are very valid and extrememly under utilized. If we let corporations control the internet It will wind up like the energy sector with the same strangle hold and no growth.

GREATSHOW MR. MOYERS!!!
KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!!

Techs unite dot com.

GREAT SHOW BILL MOYERS.
YES I BELIVE THAT YOU SHOULD RUN FOR PRESIDENT WITH SENATOR GRAVEL AS YOUR RUNNING MATE

The internet has been a beautiful tool for leveling the playing field. Mom and Pop can have a website for very little dollars with the same ease and speed of access as Sears or Amazon.com . The internet has opened political office to a few of those outside the rich men’s club. What a democratic way of promoting our capitalistic way of life! With competition being wiped out in so many markets in America today, the internet provides the last hope for a diversified economy not entire controlled by huge business.

Thank you, Mr Moyers, for bringing this critical issue to PBS and the public.

I just saw a despicable ad on the "Modern Marvel's" show on The History Channel and want wanted to alert people to it. The ad is put out by the National Cable and Telecommunications Association at http://www.ncta.com/


The ad is on their home page at the text "Net Neutrality Means You Pay".

Let's change the name of the FCC to the Freedom Communications Commission. The new mandate would be easier for regulators to remember and for citizens to keep the net neutral.

Our Native American Community in New York City. We have added you to our site.

http://graywolf94.tripod.com/

and the Phone and cable companies have their propaganda machines up and running. Fake grassroots organisations (hands off the internet) make net neutrality seem like the government trying to over regulate the internet. the same with cable TV advertisements, saying that innovation would be stifled if regulations are passed.

its kind of sad, when you have a democratic country debating over weather information should be free and with open access.

Thank you, Bill Moyers, for alerting us to this latest attack on freedom of the internet! Ask any cable company what happened to the local origination public service channel that was mandated when cable was first given its franchises. It disappeared into thin air. If you value your ability to make appeals like this one, call your Senators and tell them. It's time to stand up and be counted!

Outstanding program! True competition is very definitely the lifeblood of our country and democracy. The comment about the 19th Century robber barons is right on the mark. I feel the FCC with its recent decision to allow the merger of AT&T with Bell south to go forward was not in the best interest of the country and free enterprise. When competition is absent in the market place, there is no incentive to efficiently operate the business. I just wished the money that went into the lobbying of the various lawmakers was spent on the infrastructer which would have been in the interest of the public and in line with the public trust the companies really have. Communication
highways are just as important to commerce as the public roads used to transport tangible goods
to the market place throughout the country.
Competition is for everyone, not just the
"other guy" in the market
place.

Now I understand why my AT&T DSL service is slow, lousy and expensive. I AM MAD. I signed "The Internet Freedom of Declaration of 2007" on savetheinternet.com.

I had NO idea that the concept of internet neutrality even existed until Bill Moyer's show aired! Where are our public servants???? Why aren't they warning us of the dangers occuring in our democracy so we can doooo something about it before it's to late???? We shouldn't be in the position of having to now "undo" the loss of internet neutrality! Our public servants make alot of money and have benefits the rest of us can only dream of! In return they should have been making a loud screaming noise about this! I get their unwanted phone calls to vote for then during election time; why don't I hear from them when there is an issue at stake that will put my very liberties at risk??? I'm mad and not at all suprised! Mike McCurry keeps blogging about broadband width, WHERE ARE OUR FIBER OPTICS MIKE??? We don't even want your sucking "broadband" give us the Fiber Optics you Promised back in the 80's!! And stop telling us we have to "regulate" copper wires!

I was wondering, didn't the Government give tax breaks or incentives to the Telephone companies to lay fiber optics for all new houses and businesses back in the seventies or eighties. It is now 2007, it would seem to me that we should all have fiber optics by now. Why is this not so is my question?

McCurry voices the logic of business: "if we can't get a lock on something to make even more money, we won't invest". Since this is the guiding principle for the "open market" system we enjoy, let the FCC say that as part of the Cost of Doing Business, of having access to the Internet, you WILL provide these services: No gating/throttling of providers; equal access to all US consumers; etc.
The ether is NOT owned by business or the Government; it is maintained for the populace.

conserning corporate anything:i would like to add, if you give them control, they will have control, if they have control, they will use control to control.dont ever offer another human being control over your activity, or they will eagerly control your activity for their benefit, not yours.

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Thank you Bill Moyers and Ben Scott for doing your part to sustain democracy through the dissemination of information and the invitation to debate. We cannot allow the corporate elite to control the flow of our ideas and our government! Now with the Supreme Court Ruling allowing unlimited funding of candidates, the need for credible media is even more imperative. If the candidates can not offer that debate because they are all coming from the same resource stream, then we have to hold journalism to its highest standards in order to help protect our rights. The citizenry has a right, under the First Amendment, to have balanced debates about all social, political and economic issues. Let'e bring back the core values of good journalism!

Thank you Bill Moyers and Ben Scott for doing your part to sustain democracy through the dissemination of information and the invitation to debate. We cannot allow the corporate elite to control the flow of our ideas and our government! Now with the Supreme Court Ruling allowing unlimited funding of candidates, the need for credible media is even more imperative. If the candidates can not offer that debate because they are all coming from the same resource stream, then we have to hold journalism to its highest standards in order to help protect our rights. The citizenry has a right, under the First Amendment, to have balanced debates about all social, political and economic issues. Let'e bring back the core values of good journalism!

Thank you noelle. We are the journalists and need to keep others informed about these issues.

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