'Internet Forefathers' Support Net Neutrality

Lora Bentley

Looks like AT&T may be fighting a losing battle in opposing the Federal Communications Commission's proposed rules on net neutrality. The company may have asked employees to lobby against net neutrality on its behalf, but the big names and increasing number of those who support the proposition will be tough to overcome.


According to FierceWireless, the telecom giant's chief lobbyist, Jim Cicconi, sent a letter to all AT&T employees asking them to voice their concerns to the FCC before Thursday's vote on the new rules. The letter said, in part, "Those who seek to impose extreme regulations on the network are flooding the site to influence the FCC. It's now time for you to voice your opinion!"


One of the "talking points" employees were asked to consider using in their communication with the FCC is that the rules adopted should "apply equally to network providers, search engines and other information services providers."


Unfortunately for AT&T and other traditional telecom network providers, the list of those who have registered their support of the proposed regulations is growing. Most recently, a group made up of a virtual who's who in Internet origins joined the list. According to ChannelWeb, such Internet forefathers as Vint Cerf, David Reed, Stephen Crocker, David Lynch and Lauren Weinstein wrote FCC chairman Julius Genachowski to encourage him to continue his effort to "protect and maintain the Internet's unique openness."


When the very people responsible for helping to create the Internet are supporting efforts to regulate it, it stands to reason that those regulations have become necessary to maintain the tool as it was intended to be used,

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Oct 21, 2009 11:27 AM jOe jOe  says:

The constitution guarantees freedom in the United States and it seems reasonable that to insure the continued freedom of the internet a formal authoritative process should also act to ensure that purpose; this of course in concert with the actions of a truly open system and community.

Oct 21, 2009 11:35 AM Richard Szall Richard Szall  says:

While the concept at the 1000 ft level of protecting internet neutrality is a good thing, is the government saying the internet is not neutral? I would be interested in knowing just what definition of neutrality is being used in this statement.

The buy-in of a large number of internet based businesses may be because the government is also pressing to make free internet access available to everyone thus boosting their market size.Or I may be just too cynical..:)

Oct 22, 2009 7:23 AM Dennis Perry Dennis Perry  says:

Net Neutrality has a history in the origins of the Internet and one has to understand those origins to understand why the founders are pushing for net neutrality.  The Internet was initiated by DARPA, a government research agency, transistioned to NSF, a government research organization, and then to an open public accessible Internet.  As the ARPAnet, access was restricted to those approved by DARPA and that approval in general was only give to those that participated in some way, although it might be very indirectly, in the research being performed by DARPA.  The ARPAnet was funded by the federal government.  NSFnet merged the Arpanet into is growing research network of government funded regional networks that tied into the Arpanet.  Some of these regional networks were also funded by consortiums that were supported by business entities, such as AT&T.  As the business units embrased the Internet, their portion of the Internet grew because they had the infrastructure in place to support the bandwidth required.  So, the Internet moved from a strickly government funded network to a largely business funded network, although the government still funds portion of the Internet.  The idea of net neutrality is that a user that pays for certain type of access on one network should be able to connect to a user on another network with the same level of access with out the other network reducing the services paid for at the originating end.  Opponents of net neutrality want to perserve the competitive advantage of their services by only allowing services that their customers pay for.  Net neutrality is good for users, but not necessarily good for business.  It is similar in concept of buying a generic airline ticket with speccific features, like free meal included, and then flying on any airline and expect that airline to proovide you the free meal, even if they don't provide meal to their own customers.


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