The Point of Net Neutrality

Saturday, September 29, 2007

In his Sept. 9 commentary "Whiny Techies, II" [Sunday Briefing, Business] Steven Pearlstein called net neutrality supporters economically illiterate for demanding that consumers "be able to pay the same monthly fee for using the Internet, no matter how much bandwidth they use."

Nothing could be further from the truth. Supporters of net neutrality aren't asking that users pay one fee for all grades of access. We want a truly competitive marketplace where people can choose from numerous broadband companies offering access at different speeds and costs.

What we are demanding is a better system, where the few phone and cable companies that dominate the market can't leverage their control over Internet access to become gatekeepers of Web content.

If AT&T, Verizon and Comcast are allowed to discriminate against Web sites that don't pay their new tolls, the free-flowing Internet that has driven economic growth and innovation will come to a screeching halt.

Pearlstein took a shot at people who get their news from "The "Daily Show" or "Daily Kos." But who can blame them for going elsewhere? When it comes to news of the policies that shape the Internet, they're getting a lot closer to the truth than The Post's business pages do.

-- Timothy Karr

Florence, Mass.

The writer is campaign director for Free Press, which coordinates the SavetheInternet Coalition, an advocate for net neutrality protections.

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