Keep the Internet Free

We know it costs money to go online, since we need Internet Service Providers, but imagine paying even more money to do the following:

-Use search engines.
-Create or visit web sites, blogs, message boards, and videos or podcasts online.
-Download music and audio.
-Learn about charities and nonprofits.
-Send photos, videos, or music through e-mail.
-Conduct business online.
-Promote an invention, service, business, or even a personal web site or blog.

What would you do if most of what you create online wouldn’t be seen easily anymore?

Buying the Internet

The largest telecommunication companies in the United States want to buy the Internet, and they’ve already paid plenty elsewhere, to do something similar. Can any business actually buy the Internet? Since the Internet is International, technically, they can’t, but they can change the face of the Internet and leave most of the current web sites hidden, unless the owners pay to be included.

These same conglomerates talked the United State’s legislators into making a law that helped them buy up most of the big radio stations in the United States, and then syndicated all their shows across America. It doesn’t seem bad, if you don’t want to hear the news or don’t care about the forecast, but all the big stations that reached southern Mississippi, where Hurricane Katrina hit, were syndicated, so no one could get any news locally to know what they should do.

Something good did happen that saved thousands of those people though – the FCC didn’t like the new law, so they made it easy for people to start their own small radio stations that could only transmit for 3-5 miles away from them. Brice Phillips owned one of these tiny radio stations in southern Mississippi, and moved it to higher ground because of the hurricane. While his house was destroyed, he stayed at the station, and on air for 48 hours straight to tell the relevant news. He was the only local news, so FEMA handed out food, water, and am/fm portable radios, so residents could listen to him to know where to get assistance each day. Fortunately, news got out about this disabled man, and others came to volunteer to help him.

We can’t clearly forecast what will happen to the Internet, if these telecommunications giants buy it, but we do know it will cost more to get less, and it won’t be as diverse as it is now. We know that, because their CEOs have already told us that.

Does it Really Matter?

Consider this. Many times, the same company that owns most of the radio stations also owns local newspapers and local TV news station, so there is no more “freedom of the press.” You see and hear only what those large companies want you to know, and we’re not taking that to the “Big Brother” level.

What does that have to do with the Internet? These same corporations want the Internet, too! Imagine no place to go, but where they want us to go. Not only would that be incredibly boring, but the Internet is also one of the last places where people can get free information with or without their personal bias! These businesses aren’t as “small” as Amazon.com, Google, or Ebay. Even those well-known Internet companies would have to pay, if this law passed. Do you think they won’t pass that cost to their customers? How about the rest of the businesses that can still afford to stay online, will they pass on the cost, too?

So, what can we do about it?

We have to keep the Net Neutral. We bloggers, personal site owners, online business owners, web developers, and Internet users have to unite to stop it – no matter our age, nationality, or Internet use.

1. Learn about what is happening to us. Here are some sites that can teach us more:

http://www.savetheinternet.com
http://www.freepress.net
http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/222/index.html

2. Check out this site to find out several other things we can do to save our free Internet.

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

We know that the Internet isn’t always the safest place to visit, but it levels our status, so all of our voices can still be heard. Please help us keep it that way.