Timothy Karr Campaign Director Free Press www.freepress.net The Future of the Internet
60,000 years ago <ul><li>People started to speak </li></ul>5,000 years ago <ul><li>People started to write </li></ul>600 years ago 45 years ago <ul><li>The Internet was born </li></ul>A brief history of communications <ul><li>People started to publish </li></ul>
In the 1960s, a U.S. defense research project created a linked network that shared information across computers. <ul><li>It was a network called ARPANET. </li></ul><ul><li>It relayed data from one computer to the next using packet switching technology. </li></ul>The Internet
The World Wide Web 17 years ago <ul><li>It was an open platform of standards where anyone could create a Web site on the Internet. </li></ul><ul><li>Opening up the platform for everyone was the catalyst for explosive growth. </li></ul><ul><li>The Internet grew like an embryonic brain to become one of the largest structures ever assembled by humans. </li></ul><ul><li>Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web </li></ul>
It exploded in all directions <ul><li>In 1995 there were an estimated 16 million "active Internet users" worldwide representing only 0.4 % of the world's population. </li></ul><ul><li>This number is projected to grow to more than 1.35 billion by the end of 2007. </li></ul>
<ul><li>The Internet age is a major historical shift. Like the industrial revolution, it is changing nearly every aspect of life: </li></ul><ul><li>political systems </li></ul><ul><li>economic power </li></ul><ul><li>gender roles </li></ul><ul><li>where and how we live </li></ul><ul><li>And the most important thing about the Internet: It was all built on a level playing field called Net Neutrality . </li></ul>The Internet is changing how we live
Welcome to the revolution Net Neutrality is this: <ul><li>Net Neutrality is the guiding principle that preserves the free and open Internet. </li></ul><ul><li>It ensures that all users can access the content or run the applications and devices of their choice. </li></ul><ul><li>Under Net Neutrality, the network's only job is to move data — not choose which data to privilege with higher quality service. </li></ul>
Here’s how it works <ul><li>The Web flows into your computer through pipes owned for the most part by phone and cable companies. </li></ul><ul><li>They charge fees to anyone who wants to use them, but they're not allowed to mess with what's inside those pipes. </li></ul><ul><li>Net Neutrality ensures that everyone’s Web sites gets treated the same. </li></ul>
Net Neutrality saves democracy <ul><li>I can read my cousin's political blog just as easily as I can browse to CNN.com. </li></ul><ul><li>I can download music from a independent music site as easily as I can from Sony’s Web site. </li></ul><ul><li>I can post a video of a local campaign speech confident that network owners won’t impede access to it. </li></ul>Under Net Neutrality, users choose Since the Internet's birth, every site, every packet of data, regardless of its size, has been given equal — neutral — treatment by providers; its content is transmitted at equal speed:
Net Neutrality is about innovation The neutral network has become an engine for innovation. Internet name brands of today were just a good idea in a garage a decade ago. <ul><li>College kids working out of their garage created Google. </li></ul><ul><li>A hobbyist conceived the idea for eBay. </li></ul><ul><li>An Israeli teenager wrote the code for Instant Messaging. </li></ul><ul><li>The most popular sites on the Internet today— MySpace, FaceBook, and YouTube—didn’t exist three years ago. </li></ul>This technological revolution keeps turning as long as the Internet remains an unrestricted marketplace of ideas where innovators rise and fall on their merits.
Net Neutrality is the Internet … This fundamental notion of an open and level playing field is NOW under siege by powerful industries who seek to tilt the field to their advantage. ... and it’s now under threat Net Neutrality is the reason that the Internet has been an explosion of online economic innovation, democratic participation, and free speech.
How did this happen? What ever happened to the idea of the MASS media? Let’s review …
In the 1920s radio was a common technology, in the sense that an extraordinary range of people could gain access to a new and relatively cheap technology to air messages to one another. But once companies began to think that they could profit from advertising over our airwaves the FCC began to implement a very different idea about how radio would function. Working with special interests, government allocated the spectrum in a way that made it so only a few could get access to the airwaves. By the mid 1930s NBC and CBS were responsible for an astounding 97% of nighttime broadcasting. The number of radio station owners has plummeted by 34% since the 1996 Telecommunications Act. That year, the biggest radio owners controlled fewer than 65 stations. Today, Clear Channel— one company — owns more than 1,200. Radio?
Television suffered much the same fate. Using powerful lobbyists, television broadcasters gained overwhelming influence in Washington. The spent $222 million to lobby government officials from 1998 to 2004. including millions on entertainment and travel, taking FCC regulators on 2,500 all-expense-paid trips. Television broadcasting policy was shaped in closed-door meetings with policymakers. So, even though the public owned the airwaves, special interests decided how this influential media was created, financed, and distributed. There developed an interdependence between those who held political power (and needed access to the airwaves) and those who controlled the airwaves (and needed access to political power). Television?
What happened to the Mass Media… It's gotten so bad that today, instead of nurturing and extending democracy and free speech, broadcasting threatens to distort it. The media industry and their lobbyists worked hand in hand with policymakers to shape a system that cedes control of mass media to a few corporations. In all of these cases what we see a “disruptive technology” that sparks an explosion of democratic participation. But this explosion threatens the status quo. And those threatened react. Their reaction is to take a culture that has been unlocked by technological change and to re-lock it.
What happened to stifle openness and limit access to broadcasting is happening to the Internet right now. … could happen to the Internet A handful of phone and cable giants are promising to build a new network of Internet services. But they want something in return from government. They want control. Not just over the “pipes” but control over the Internet itself. They’re pushing laws that would gut Net Neutrality
This isn't mere speculation — we've seen what happens when the gatekeepers gain control over radio and television. Phone and cable companies are now hatching plans for the Internet: The threat is real <ul><li>William L. Smith of BellSouth told the Washington Post that his firm should be able to charge Yahoo Inc. for the opportunity to have its search site load faster than that of Google Inc. </li></ul><ul><li>Ed Whitacre told BusinessWeek he was no longer going to let people "use his pipes for free ... there's going to have to be some mechanism for these people who use these pipes to pay for the portion they're using." </li></ul>
Google users —Another search engine could pay dominant Internet providers like AT&T to guarantee the competing search engine opens faster than Google on your computer. Ipod listeners —A company like Comcast could slow access to iTunes, steering you to a higher-priced music service that it owned. Political groups —Political organizing could be slowed by a handful of dominant Internet providers who ask advocacy groups to pay "protection money" for their Web sites and online features to work correctly. Online purchasers —Companies could pay Internet providers to guarantee their online sales process faster than competitors with lower prices—distorting your choice as a consumer. Small businesses —When Internet companies like AT&T discriminate in favor their own services and allies, new market entrants won’t be able to compete. Bloggers —Costs will skyrocket to post and share video and audio clips—silencing citizen journalists and putting more power in the hands of a few corporate-owned media outlets. How would this affect you
To kill Net Neutrality, phone and cable companies are changing the laws. In the past 10 years, they have spent more than half a billion dollars on campaign contributions, political action committees, PR firms and high-spending lobbyists to push through their rules. On Net Neutrality alone, AT&T, Verizon, BellSouth and Comcast have spent more than $150 million to strong arm Congress and the FCC. Changing the law But they didn't anticipate one thing....
In 2006, a grassroots coalition of more than 850 groups including educators, not-for-profits, consumer rights groups, small business and public advocates — banded together to protect Internet freedom. We were joined by more than 1.5 million people who signed a petition urging Congress to maintain the free and open Internet. More than 6,000 bloggers linked to the coalition's site, SavetheInternet.com, many of them posting homemade videos to counteract the phone companies’ misinformation campaign. Online social networks formed around the issue at MySpace, FaceBook and YouTube. We Used the Internet to Save the Internet. The public
<ul><li>Signed a petition to Congress. </li></ul><ul><li>Called our Members. </li></ul><ul><li>Wrote letters to our hometown newspapers. </li></ul><ul><li>Downloaded, printed and distributed flyers. </li></ul><ul><li>Made our own protest videos. </li></ul><ul><li>Promoted Net Neutrality on Blogs and Web sites. </li></ul><ul><li>Delivered petitions and spoke out publicly. </li></ul><ul><li>And told our friends to join the fight for Internet freedom. </li></ul>We took action
We came out in the streets <ul><li>… and 25 other cities across the country. </li></ul><ul><li>In Denver </li></ul><ul><li>Albuquerque </li></ul><ul><li>New York </li></ul><ul><li>Seattle </li></ul><ul><li>Detroit </li></ul><ul><li>Boston </li></ul><ul><li>Madison </li></ul><ul><li>Providence, Washington, Montpelier … </li></ul>
This grassroots campaign lifted this arcane issue from obscurity and threw a wrench in phone and cable Companies’ plan to overhaul our media laws behind closed doors. Whereas before, the phone companies were confident that Congress would simply sign-off on industry-written legislation, today no member of Congress can vote with the telecom cartel without feeling the full heat of public scrutiny. And we won We made opposing Net Neutrality a political third rail.
Internet access must be regarded as a civil right for every American. We want: <ul><li>Universal and Affordable Access </li></ul><ul><li>An Open and Neutral Network </li></ul><ul><li>World Class Quality and Choice </li></ul>So what’s next?
Lessons from the campaign <ul><li>Policy Matters to People </li></ul><ul><li>Strange Bedfellows Make Good Allies </li></ul><ul><li>Grass- and Netroots Kill Astroturf </li></ul><ul><li>Let People Own Your Issue </li></ul><ul><li>Work from the Inside Out, and Outside In </li></ul><ul><li>Elections Matter Too </li></ul>SavetheInternet.com