Martha — You say you want a revolution…

Topic(s): Resistance? | Comments Off on Martha — You say you want a revolution…

This was sent from Martha:
“The public airwaves should be used for the public good. The government must protect our airwaves from corporate gatekeepers who would stifle innovation and competition in the wireless Internet market.”
The federal government is on the verge of turning over a huge portion of our public airwaves to companies like AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast—who will use them for private gain instead of the public good.
These newly available airwaves are a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to revolutionize Internet access—beaming high-speed Internet signals to every park bench, coffee shop, workplace, and home in America at more affordable prices than current Internet service. Phone and cable companies don’t want this competition to their Internet service—they’d rather purchase the airwaves at auction and sit on them.1
In June, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will make a major decision: Use the public airwaves for the public good, or turn them over to big companies who will stifle competition, innovation, and the wireless Internet revolution.
The FCC is only accepting public comments for a few more days. Can you sign this petition to them today, and send it to your friends?
“The public airwaves should be used for the public good. The government must protect our airwaves from corporate gatekeepers who would stifle innovation and competition in the wireless Internet market.”
Sign here:
We’ll deliver your petition signature and any accompanying note directly to the FCC’s public comment record, which FCC Commissioners use to guide their decisions.
There are many innovative companies jumping at the opportunity to forge ahead with the wireless Internet revolution—bringing us high-speed wireless networks from coast to coast and all sorts of innovative wireless devices. But the old phone and cable companies are aggressively trying to block this progress. They’ve spent billions laying wires, and they enjoy having their customers locked in with few alternatives.
Without access to the public airwaves, wireless innovators can’t enter the marketplace. So the strategy of companies like AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast is to buy the administrative rights of our airwaves at auction—and then use those rights to block competition. They also stifle the development of new wireless devices by only letting their own endorsed products work on their networks.
We’re urging the FCC to protect the public good by setting auction rules that prohibit this anti-competitive behavior. If the government auctioned off the right to maintain a public highway to Ford, we would certainly not let Ford block Toyotas from the roads. Likewise, big phone and cable should not be able to keep innovative companies off our airwaves.
They also shouldn’t be able to tell their wireless Internet customers which websites they can access—as they do now. And just as phone companies can’t tell customers what phones can be plugged into a wall jack, cell and wireless companies should not be able to dictate which phones or wireless devices people use on their networks.
The opportunity to revolutionize the Internet and wireless world is at our fingertips. The only question is whether our government will embrace it, and whether regular people will fight for it.
The FCC is only accepting public comments for a few more days. Can you sign the petition to them today, and send it to your friends?
Sign here:
Thanks for all you do.
–Adam Green, MoveOn.org Civic Action
Tuesday, May 29th, 2007
PS—Most people haven’t heard about this critical issue yet—so it’s really important that we spread the word and get others involved. As you consider who else to tell about this issue, here’s what innovation and competition in the wireless world means for regular people:
Families would no longer be forced to choose solely between high-priced phone and cable Internet. A new wireless market—including lots of competition within that market—would mean more affordable Internet access for families.
Poor and rural communities which phone and cable companies never bothered to wire with high-speed Internet access could now have high-speed Internet signals beamed directly into their homes.
Blackberry and other handheld wireless users are currently blocked by phone companies from accessing Internet-based phone service and other innovative services.2 The FCC could stop these anti-competitive, anti-consumer practices by mandating wireless Net Neutrality.
Socially responsible buyers could someday go to a store, scan the bar codes of products with an Internet-equipped cell phone, and find out which items are socially responsible. Phone companies can currently block such innovations from working with their devices (they often try to shake down innovators into giving them a massive cut of their profits)—but the FCC can prohibit such practices on these newly available airwaves.
Technology consumers in America are currently denied all sorts of cutting-edge technology that people in other countries have—like using Internet-equipped cell phones to buy products, transfer money, or give to charity. By opening the doors to competition and innovation, the FCC can change that.
P.P.S. Can you support this people-powered campaign today? As corporations like AT&T and Verizon spend millions to get public policy skewed in their favor, we will win these fights because of the power of regular people. A donation of $10, $20, or more would go a long way. You can donate here:
1. Paper describing “warehousing” of airwaves by dominant companies to keep competition out of the market—by Simon Wilkie, Director of Center for Communication Law and Policy at the University of Southern California, March 26, 2007
2. “Wireless Net Neutrality: Cellular Carterfone and Consumer Choice in Mobile Broadband,” Working Paper by Prof. Tim Wu, February 15, 2007
Hooking Up,” Prof. Tim Wu commentary in Forbes, May 18, 2007
3. “Use spare spectrum for the Net; High-speed internet should be one of the FCC’s priorities as it auctions valuable airwave rights,” Los Angeles Times editorial, April 13, 2007