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Net Neutrality

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Location: http://www.cynthiathielen.com/issues/net.html


Net Neutrality

The short answer is absolutely.

The Internet is the most powerful and equal platform for free political discourse in the history of the human race. It is an incredible equalizer. Before the Internet, most free speech had to pass through those who owned the various media in the world, TV stations, radio stations, newspapers, etc. While most major points of view did make it into this media, it was still limited both by the space available and what each chose to run.

With the Internet, everyone has the capability at no cost to present his or her point of view. And to present it in as much detail as they wish. And all of the various websites, blogs, etc., cross-link to each other to provide a web of supporting documentation. But those cross-links also then take you to other sites written by other individuals and groups.

At the same time the web has provided a new business model. This is not just an additional channel for existing companies to use. My oldest son's company would not exist if the Internet did not exist. His entire approach to selling to date has been via the Internet. And his company has created jobs and provided a valuable product to customers world-wide.

A very large part of what makes all of the above work, and work so well, is that at the base level, everything is equal. Individuals writing their own news & politics blogs are as powerful as the largest networks. And as CBS found with their inaccurate 60 Minutes report on President Bush's military duty, blogs are more powerful when the arguments are on their side.

But what if you could not reach those individual blogs? What if your only news source on the web were the major networks? What if they turned the Internet into the same medium as all of our other methods, where it would cost money to get your message out? And the bigger the audience, the more it would cost.

This is what the telecom companies want to do. They want to be paid for the size of audience each website gets. And if an individual or company does not pay them, then all of us do not see what that individual or company is presenting on the web. And this does not just un-level the playing field. It also seriously injures the interconnectedness of the Internet. Because suddenly you will find that links you click on a page are gone. Although the page you wanted is there it's just that the person who created that page did not pay your Internet provider, and so you don't get to see it.

And the small companies that are yet to be created that need the open Internet as their avenue to success? They will never be created. We will never have the advantage of their products. All of the jobs they would create will never exist.

As a Republican I strongly believe in the power of the free market. Net neutrality gives us the freest market, for both ideas and products, in the history of civilization. As a Republican, as a supporter of open political discourse for all, and as a supporter of small businesses both today, and those yet to be created, I strongly support Net Neutrality.

http://www.cynthiathielen.com/issues/net.html

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