I started to write a blog post about the rejection of the "Net Neutrality" amendment to the COPE act but as I started to research some more, I found it to be a pretty dense topic. It is important too. In reading the Slashdot thread on the topic, I found this post that contained the response of someone's congressperson. In it is a key bit of the telco industry position:
The problem is that over the next couple of years, large Internet sites are planning to offer high-definition video services, which will use large amounts of bandwidth and clog the pipelines of the Internet. Telephone and cable companies want to be able to charge for such large amounts of bandwidth; otherwise, they will have to pass the costs on to the consumer.This line of argument has some serious weaknesses but I'm concerned that people who take action based on calls like Google's are ignoring the opposing opinion instead of engaging it. Worse still are the absolutist claims like, "anything less than this amendment would be a loss for freedom and innovation on the Internet." In fact, there is other legislation with nearly identical language in the works.
I can't say I'm crying about how things are turning out. I would probably most fit into the "support neutrality in theory but think it is too early to codify" camp. The telco industry moves to remove FCC policy regarding neutrality are not an encouraging development but I don't see a feasible way for the telephone companies to put their "charge Google" monetization plan in place. The ZDNet article linked above is particularly lame as it casts the issue in Democrat and Republican terms even though the prime mover of the FCC's neutrality policy was Republican and noted serial censor Michael Powell.
Another interesting quote from the congressperson's reply was this:
Rest assured that as we move through this process, I will continue to listen to the opinions of the experts and my constituents. I appreciate your comments and hope to receive them in the future.Probably a key problem in grassroots activism is that constituents aren't seen as experts.