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#1
EcoGraphic

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This affects everyone!

Take a moment to visit this website and sign the petition. The US Congress is currently being pushed by the large communications corporations to vote against Net Neutrality which enables freedom of speech and the free flow of information on the internet. If they succeed, internet users will start to see access to web content regulated.

From the campaign website:

Right now Congress is pushing a law that would abandon the First Amendment of the Internet -- a principle called "network neutrality" that preserves the free and open Internet. Congress needs to hear from you today or they will hand over control of what you do online to companies like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast.

Politicians are trading favors for campaign donations from these companies. They're being wooed by people like AT&T's CEO, who says "the Internet can't be free."


Save the Internet Campaign

If you do not live in the US you can sign the following petition:

Defend Net Freedom Now
Gillian Auld
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Richard Grefe

#2
benbakelaar

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Leave it to the Canadian press to actually report what happened in the House... I had to look through at least 30 other American articles that only reported on the spin of it.

http://www.teleclick...net-neutrality/

DISCLAIMER: The issue is far from over, yes I know.

#3
EcoGraphic

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To get a better sense of just how serious this is, take 5 minutes and watch the videos:

Videos


If you run any sort of blog or even business website consider adding a link on your homepage to:

www.SaveTheInternet.com

Visit this page for banners and links:

Save the Internet Campaign Swag
Gillian Auld
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Richard Grefe

#4
Dennis McClendon

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If you prefer to actually read something about an issue before signing petitions, I found this story helpful:

http://www.washingto...6012100094.html
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
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#5
EcoGraphic

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Update on the Net Neutrality issue:

The full House of Representatives is about to cast a crucial vote on Internet freedom.

Here are two things you can do in the next five minutes to help stop Congress from handing control of the Internet over to the nation's largest telephone and cable companies:

1. Call your representative:

Ask your House representative to support legislation that would protect Net Neutrality -- the principle that keeps the Internet free and open.

www.freepress.net/congress/

Go to the this Web site to find your representative's phone number and ask your representative to support Internet freedom by voting for a Net Neutrality amendment to the larger communications bill called the COPE Act.

The COPE Act is riddled with problems, the biggest of which is the lack of genuine Net Neutrality protections. Tell your representative to oppose any telecommunications law that doesn't contain meaningful and enforceable Net Neutrality.

2. Help fight telco misinformation:

More than a million Americans have already voiced their support for Internet freedom. But companies like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast are spending tens of millions of dollars to drown out the public outcry. Their propaganda blitz includes local TV and print ads and canned telephone appeals designed to paint Net Neutrality as an anti-consumer regulation -- even though every major consumer group says it is the best way to protect consumer choice.

Please help set the record straight by supporting SavetheInternet.com:

Donate to SavetheInternet.com
Gillian Auld
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Richard Grefe

#6
EcoGraphic

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Another update on the Net Neutrality issue:
posted on SavetheInternet.com:

Call Your Senator for Net Neutrality
June 26th, 2006 by tkarr

The Senate Commerce Committee ?mark-up? on Senator Stevens? massive Telecommunications Act has dragged through Tuesday without discussion of the Snowe-Dorgan Net Neutrality amendment. A vote on this is now likely to occur on Wednesday.

This vote is critical. If your senator sits on the committee, he/she needs to hear from you today. Ask him/her to vote in committee to support the Snowe-Dorgan Net Neutrality amendment to the larger Telecom Act (S. 2686).

Here are the members of the committee who have not taken a strong position in favor of Internet freedom and for the Snowe-Dorgan Amendment. Call them now:

Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska)
Phone: 202-224-3004

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)
Phone: 202 -224-2235

Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.)
Phone: 202-224-2353

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.)
Phone: 202-224-5274

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.)
Phone: 202 224 3224

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.)
Phone: 202 224-4623

Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.)
Phone: 202-224-6253

Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.)
Phone: 202-224-2644

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.)
Phone: 202-224-6551

Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.)
Phone: 202-224-6244

Sen. John E. Sununu (R-N.H.)
Phone: 202-224-2841

Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.)
Phone: 202-224-3753

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.)
Phone: 202 224-6121

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas)
Phone: 202-224-5922

Sen. George Allen (R-Va.)
Phone: 202-224-4024

Sen. John D. Rockefeller (D-W.Va.)
Phone: 202-224-6472

Your phone calls actually make a difference. Please call now and urge your senators to support the bipartisan Snowe-Dorgan Internet Freedom amendment in the Commerce Committee. The free and open Internet as we know it is on the line.
Gillian Auld
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Richard Grefe

#7
benbakelaar

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I suggest reading an internet traffic engineer's perspective on this issue:

http://blogs.zdnet.c...index.php?p=244

It may be about only one issue of many surrounding Net neutrality, but it makes the case for science, not politics, to decide the issue.

#8
EcoGraphic

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I suggest reading an internet traffic engineer's perspective on this issue:

http://blogs.zdnet.c...index.php?p=244

It may be about only one issue of many surrounding Net neutrality, but it makes the case for science, not politics, to decide the issue.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Unfortunately the issue is not really about bandwidth and the infrastructure required for quality of service. Websites which host video content and therefore use a huge amount of bandwidth for the delivery of their content, already pay heavily for what their content to be delivered.

Internet Users already pay heavily for high speed service vs. dial up.

The core issue is that until now the telecommunications companies have not been allowed to descriminate against content. If they are also allowed to charge websites for faster delivery of content, it will mean that they can now descriminate against anyone they choose.

Shaw Cable in Canada has already been accused of degrading its customers access to iTunes and BitTorrent. This will become a common scenario on the internet if network neutrality is not enforced.

The longterm implications of this are horrendous. If telecom companies are allowed to act as gatekeepers to internet content, there will be no end to what they can block or degrade access to. Want to start an online business which happens to compete with a business owned by your telecom company? Funny, your website seems to be excessively slow.

Four years ago, I was able to start a small tourism business in a rural village with no more than a $35 website and a $400 internet ad. By the end of the first summer, that business had grossed over $15,000.

This summer alone, I will have been able to direct over $50,000 in seasonal income into that same tiny rural village simply through the use of effective website marketing.

The only reason I was able to start that business 4 years ago, was because I could do so with such a small advertising budget, and because all I had to pay for was hosting. If I had also had to pay thousands of dollars to my ISP in order to ensure that my customers could access my website, I would simply not have been able to do it.

There ye be.......
Gillian Auld
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Richard Grefe

#9
Derek Tonn

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Unfortunately the issue is not really about bandwidth and the infrastructure required for quality of service. Websites which host video content and therefore use a huge amount of bandwidth for the delivery of their content, already pay heavily for what their content to be delivered.

Internet Users already pay heavily for high speed service vs. dial up.

The core issue is that until now the telecommunications companies have not been allowed to descriminate against content. If they are also allowed to charge websites for faster delivery of content, it will mean that they can now descriminate against anyone they choose.

The longterm implications of this are horrendous. If telecom companies are allowed to act as gatekeepers to internet content, there will be no end to what they can block or degrade access to. Want to start an online business which happens to compete with a business owned by your telecom company? Funny, your website seems to be excessively slow.


Gillian,

Is the issue the regulation of content, or the "packaging" in which that content is delivered? Honestly, the biggest problem with the "regulation" or prioritization of 'net traffic today is that the average web developer, do-it-yourselfer, etc. doesn't have the foggiest clue of how to code their pages and/or format their graphics to allow for the smallest consumption of bandwidth possible. People all over the world are "driving their 8-10mpg SUVs" when their sites could just as easily be developed as "50mpg+ hybrids".

If bandwidth providers charged per MB of consumption, then all of our host servers subsequently charged that per-MB fee (along with their own mark-up), it would force BANDWITH CONSERVATION on the development side of the house and solve a LOT of our problem IMHO. Right now, there is little/no direct financial incentive for people to build efficient graphics/code for the Web outside of faster-loading pages...and it frequently costs more to hire a good web developer and/or graphic designer who knows what they are doing as opposed to someone who has never built a web site before sitting down in front of their copy of Microsoft Frontpage and building something that looks "okay" but is a trainwreck from the perspective of coding efficiency.

The more I learn about the topic of bandwidth conservation and efficient graphics/coding practices, the more I realize I don't know. If just a little more government regulation/intervention resulted in:

- more-efficient coding and graphical practices, and
- a SERIOUS effort to tighten the screws on phishing/malware/spyware/spam (bandwidth consumption)

....then I am honestly not sure that I would oppose such an effort. My web host even allows me to block IP address blocks who are trolling my web site and/or spamming our employee accounts! The primary reason? Reducing "hassle" and the unnecessary use of bandwidth on their servers. This is VOLUNTARY though, so a bit different than what you have been describing

Derek
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#10
EcoGraphic

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Is the issue the regulation of content, or the "packaging" in which that content is delivered?  Honestly, the biggest problem with the "regulation" or prioritization of 'net traffic today is that the average web developer, do-it-yourselfer, etc. doesn't have the foggiest clue of how to code their pages and/or format their graphics to allow for the smallest consumption of bandwidth possible.  People all over the world are "driving their 8-10mpg SUVs" when their sites could just as easily be developed as "50mpg+ hybrids". 

If bandwidth providers charged per MB of consumption, then all of our host servers subsequently charged that per-MB fee (along with their own mark-up), it would force BANDWITH CONSERVATION on the development side of the house and solve a LOT of our problem IMHO.  Right now, there is little/no direct financial incentive for people to build efficient graphics/code for the Web outside of faster-loading pages...and it frequently costs more to hire a good web developer and/or graphic designer who knows what they are doing as opposed to someone who has never built a web site before sitting down in front of their copy of Microsoft Frontpage and building something that looks "okay" but is a trainwreck from the perspective of coding efficiency.

The more I learn about the topic of bandwidth conservation and efficient graphics/coding practices, the more I realize I don't know.  If just a little more government regulation/intervention resulted in:

- more-efficient coding and graphical practices, and
- a SERIOUS effort to tighten the screws on phishing/malware/spyware/spam (bandwidth consumption)

....then I am honestly not sure that I would oppose such an effort.  My web host even allows me to block IP address blocks who are trolling my web site and/or spamming our employee accounts!  The primary reason?  Reducing "hassle" and the unnecessary use of bandwidth on their servers.  This is VOLUNTARY though, so a bit different than what you have been describing

Derek

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Derek,

Yes, the issue really is the regulation of content. During the last year, the telecom companies have been lobbying the US Congress to strip away the current regulations which prevent them from regulating content delivery and therefore equal access to content.

At the moment it is purely up to the internet user as to what information they want to access on the internet. If you want to use Google as opposed to Yahoo, that is your choice, your ISP cannot promote one over the other by degrading access to one, or charging one to have their service delivered faster. If you want to read a website devoted to some weird breed of dogs, knock yourself out. It's your choice. You have equal access to each of those websites.

The Telecom companies have already successfully pushed Congress to rewrite the Telecom legislation. Now it is before the US Senate. If the Net Neutrality ammendment is not upheld this is exactly what they will be able to do.

At the moment they say they just want to be able to charge EBay, Google, Yahoo, etc. , but if they are allowed to charge at all, their power to charge will be unlimited. If a corrupt politician wants to pay off a telecom company to limit access to a political blog, which opposes the governments views, they will be able to do so. One ISP has already been accused of cutting of access to Craigslist because it competes with their own classified website. This will happen more and more.

As you say, bandwidth conservation is obviously a concern these days, but I think that will start to sort itself out. Its no different than the price of oil. As the price rises, we are forced to develop more fuel efficient cars. The same will happen with bandwidth and people will be forced to trim down their websites.

You should really take a look at the videos on www.SavetheInternet.com

If they need to charge more for bandwidth to cover the cost of new cables, etc. they will always be able to do so. It is really the issue that they should not be able to decide what you have access to. We already have that. It's called Cable TV.

As always the Ninja says it perfectly :D :

Ask a Ninja - Net Neutrality
Gillian Auld
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Richard Grefe

#11
Derek Tonn

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Gillian,

If Telecoms do gain the power to charge without limit and/or decide to seriously flex their muscles by restricting access to content, they will effectively be digging their own eventual graves. In the short-term, "profits" (or effects) would skyrocket! However, that shift of power/$$$ would also result in alternative technologies or "vehicles" for delivering the internet springing up all over the place. Pretty soon, we say "we don't need your _______, telecom companies, we've got something cheaper/better in ________."

Also, I would be curious to learn exactly how an ISP could regulate what content an individual chooses to view. There are a LOT of ISPs out there.....and unless the telecoms can form an even more stable version of "OPEC", the incentive for telecoms and/or other third-party technology/internet providers would be too great to completely limit content. Web sites and services being held for ransom or shackled by one telecom would be welcomed with open arms by another. Either that, or I am sure that there are HUNDREDS of off-shore companies who would absolutely love to provide hosting/access without regulation or limitation....which would be MUCH worse for the economy than the status quo. (?)

I guess without putting people to sleep with a LONG email reply from Yours Truly, my basic opinion is that the Genie is Out of the Bottle when it comes to the internet...and no form of legislation will ever be able to regulate what we choose to access, when we choose to access it, etc. Folks can make it harder in the short-term, but new and innovative technologies will make whatever laws are passed in 2006 obsolete by 2007-2008. A "computer" analogy would be Microsoft and OpenSource technology. Microsoft's actions/greed led directly to the OpenSource movement, which will NEVER go away. If the telecoms get greedy, no amount of lobbyists will bail them out in Washington D.C., no matter how hard they try.

My $0.02.

Derek
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#12
Martin Gamache

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The one thing you are not adressing is that the telcos (and here I include the cable companies) own the infrastructure and unless the federal gov. is prepared to nationalize their industry ( would never happen in the US) they control access. This is not about content, it is about bandwidth and how you access that bandwidth and more importantly how you charge for that bandwidth.

#13
Derek Tonn

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Martin,

You are correct when you say that telecoms control the infrastructure. I guess my response, however, would be the railroad industry 100-150 years ago. The railroad companies DOMINATED transportation in the United States for decades....but their power and greed eventually made them sloppy, and other technologies were developed which have made them but a shell of their former self. With the internet, what took the railroads 50-100 years to develop might only take other communications companies 5-10 years today. Send up a few dozen satellites and remove/reduce people's dependence upon "land lines", and you've taken a good-bit of the telecom's power away.

An interesting analogy would be what the telecoms are trying to do and what many of us map designers do on the issue of copyright and reprint permissions. We develop the artwork (telecoms build the infrastructure), then we want our initial design fees (access to telecom equipment), reprint/reproduction fees (monthly service fees for access to infrastructure) and CONTROL over how the artwork is modified/maintained in the future.

If telecoms built the infrastructure, why shouldn't they try to profit from it in any way that they can? My only point was that, if the telecoms get greedy and/or start to worry more about "social engineering" (controlling content), new and innovative technologies will quickly be developed to render their services obsolete. It happens ALL the time throughout history, with corporations, governments, etc. Have a great product/service, capture some serious market share/profits, become an 800-pound gorilla in the marketplace, get greedy, then be knocked from your lofty perch by the next "up and comer". It's just like in the campus mapping "industry". There were 2-3 unnamed map design firms in the 1950s-1980s that absolutely DOMINATED the industry. However, they got greedy/sloppy....and then other firms started carving them up in the 1990s through the present day. For every one strong firm in the industry, there are ten smaller firms with unique/excellent concepts for new, more efficient products and services.....just waiting for the 800-pound gorillas to get greedy/sloppy, so they can swoop-in and cut those monsters down to size. ;)

The answer, to me, lies in efficient graphics and coding practices....that will result in a drastic reduction in consumption, slowing the need for more "old" infrastructure being built while increasing the performance/speed of EVERYONE'S connections, from dial-up to T1+.
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#14
EcoGraphic

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Another example is radio broadcasting. When radio was first invented anyone and everyone could broadcast. Then in the 1930s they figured out they could make more money by forcing people to purchase an expensive broadcasting license. This is no different.

The minute you allow the Telcos to create a two-tiered internet infrastructure with two different speeds for content delivery, now you have to have a way of deciding whos content is delivered via the fast lane, and whos content is delivered via the slow lane.

Voila! Call it what you like, now you are allowing gatekeeping and content descrimination.

I read somewhere recently that the solution to the infrastructure issue would simply be to build more "lanes" rather than create a tiered sytem with fast and slow lanes.

I think you are right Derek, it will only be a matter of time before more alternatives start popping up if this goes through.
Gillian Auld
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#15
Derek Tonn

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I read somewhere recently that the solution to the infrastructure issue would simply be to build more "lanes" rather than create a tiered sytem with fast and slow lanes.


I've read that too, although honestly, that's like saying that the solution to the United States problems related to petroleum is to drill in Alaskan wildlife preserves, or that traffic congestion in a metro area would be resolved by simply adding more lanes to a freeway. No, the real answer is "conservation"......and related to the internet, if every web site were actually built properly (with optimized graphics and efficient code), you'd probably see at least a 15-20% reduction in bandwidth consumption right away. Add-in some SERIOUS offensives launched against the individuals and organization who make spamming, malware and spyware the nuisance that it is, and you'd probably see performance improve by another 50+ percent!

My old web site (tonnhaus.com) went from being not optimized to optimized about 2.5 years ago. What I witnessed in the months to follow made me a firm believer and "evangelist" for the bandwidth conservation movement. During the six months following the launch of our last (former) tonnhaus web site, we saw a 15% increase in visitors and page views. At the same time, we experienced a 20% decline in bandwidth consumption! 15% more people on our site, 20% less bandwidth consumed. Our new mapformation site is much bigger in size than our old tonnhaus.com site, but I've stripped all but 2-3 remaining "bandwidth" issues down to the tin-can on that new site (Zoomify requirement of .jpg imagery in their Flash interface, CSS code optimization, XML code optimization on one page). It is a PASSION of mine, almost as much as map design, and I won't build a web site for anyone out there unless they let me build it "right". :)

I'm honestly not TOO worried about the issue of content control, as telecoms will be sacrificing future earnings if they start to monkey-around with those types of things. I'm not one to buy into conspiracy theorists for the most part.
Derek Tonn
Founder and CEO
mapformation, LLC

datonn@mapformation.com
http://www.mapformation.com




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