Thursday, June 08, 2006

Lobbying for net neutrality and local control.

As mentioned earlier, Bill Callahan has been doing yeoman’s work keeping us up to date on the COPE act and its many implications. I’ve had the Save the Internet banner up for some time. Now is the time to click it.

If passed with all the uglies intact, the COPE act would:

  • Strip local communities of the ability to negotiate the terms of local cable franchises

  • Set high hurdles for community-based broadband networks

  • End net neutrality.
Catch up with Bill, Henry Gomez and Save the Internet if you are new to the debate. The key point today is that the vote on two net neutrality amendments is set for tomorrow. Bill has set up links to contact local members of Congress.

Another key member to lobby is Ted Strickland who wants to be our next governor. Unfortunately, the email system for congress is rigged so you have to enter a 9-digit zip before you can get to anyone. Fortunately, I found a realtor website that gave me a valid address and therefore a valid 9 digit zipcode. Enter 45701-1301 (a lovely modern on a wooded lot listing at $440,000) and you are in. I then entered my actual city and po box as the address, so he knows who is writing to him. It’s not illegal, immoral or fattening. He can pay attention or not, but Ted knows we are watching this vote.

And if you are not yet convinced, consider the following. Proponents of COPE claim that it’s all about customer service, not about controlling content. But ZDNet recently discovered that Cox Cable is blocking Craig’s List in order to protect its classified advertising business. Ultimately this isn’t just about netroots vs. the powers that be, it’s also about preserving an healthy environment for small business formation. That should be appealing to people of most political stripes.