Asheville Drinking Liberally: It's Our Internet, Isn't It?

Fellow DL'ers:

We were initially thinking that tomorrow's topic would address hypocrisy - from The Hill to Pack Square and all points in between elsewhere, and how it seems to only help careers in public service - but that's for another Thursday. Today, we gotta talk about net neutrality.

In a nutshell, network neutrality is a basic principle that preserves a free (as in speech, not as in beer) and open Internet. A level playing field where everyone can access content or run any application or device they choose. All you need is imagination and know-how... and a little bit of venture capital couldn't hurt either. eBay, Google, Yahoo!, and Skype are but a few examples of this, and we have the principle of net neutrality to thank for it. What's at issue here is the desire of the big telecommunications companies - AT&T, BellSouth, Verizon, Charter, et al - to change all of that in their favor. The telcos, who already control the greater majority of Internet access, want the power to select who gets access to high-speed lines, essentially deciding whose content gets seen first and fastest. Anyone who can't (or won't) pay those fees will have their content relegated to slower, more congested lines.

What's in it for the telcos? $$$! Ed Whitacre, CEO of AT&T, said that "the Internet can't be free... for a Google or Yahoo or Vonage or anybody to expect to use these pipes free is nuts."

What's in it for the politicos who support the demise of net neutrality? Do I really need to ask?

The House bill in question, HR 5252, passed last week with overwhelmingly partisan support from the right side of the aisle, and the Senate is set to vote on this issue next week. (For the record, Rep. Charles Taylor voted no on an amendment that was introduced to HR 5252 that would have ensured net neutrality and voted yes on the final bill - We'll let you make up your own mind which side of the coin he's on.)

What's in it for us? Well... imagine it taking two minutes instead of two seconds for your e-mail program to get this message. Imagine not being able to read some peoples' blog pages because Blogger wouldn't play ball with AT&T. Imagine not being able to use a VOIP service like Vonage. Imagine not being able to use Google or Yahoo! because your ISP, in conjunction with their paid partners, would rather you use *their* search engine that lets you browse *their* content.

I don't know about you, but after typing all of this I can really use a beer or two.

And it just so happens that they make and serve some really fantastic beer as well as some tasty pizza at our new location, the Asheville Brewing Company on Coxe Ave.! Come on out tonight and join us -- help us make our second week even more successful than our first!

Thanks again, and we'll see you on the patio!

syntax (co-host, Asheville Drinking Liberally)

for more information on net neutrality: (LOTS of info and links here)


I'd be there if I could

I actually received an invite to the Charlotte Drinking Liberally. it was someone at the Kissell fundraiser, but I'm ashamed to say I don't remember meeting him.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Gotcha ;)

Glad I'm not the only one who "met him."

See you later. :)

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

How quaint, Screwy

Nothing is ours in the new era of American Kleptocracy. If it can be bought, it will be sold.


All that anger's gonna burn you up, son.

America is ours and we'll have it back. I've given up on anger and frustration and moved towards action, persistence, hope, and determination.

Scrutiny Hooligans -

Not telling

No text

Community-owned infrastructure

As I discuss here, one good reason to promote and establish community-owned communications infrastructure is to insulate our citizenry from the telcos theivery.

We're on the brink (June 26th) of our Chapel Hill town council establishing a muni-networking task force to evaluate and deploy such an infrastructure. I know folks in Asheville have discussed doing something similar but I haven't kept up with their initiative - I hope it's going strong.

In the end, we cannot let the monopolists control the new town commons. The 'net, as we know it, exists IN SPITE OF the telcos - who have collected hundreds of billions of fees to buildout the network (authorized by the '96 Telecommunications Act) and reneged on their obligations. Now they want to doubly tax users and control the flow of information. It's too much.

If the Dems had any sense, they'd leap on this anti-competitive behaviour as a key differentiator and ride it all the way to the White House ala Teddy Roosevelt.

Big if


I'm new...

so this may be a dumb question. I just moved to the Raleigh area from VA, and I was wondering if they do a version of drinking liberally in Raleigh?

Yes, they do

I don't have any info on it as I'm in Charlotte, but they post here before each one, I think.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.