Is the wild west culture of the Internet about to become a thing of the past? Big business is staking its claim on the information superhighway, lobbying Congress for an exclusive faster lane, which consumers could end up paying for. This week on NOW we look at a major battle brewing in Washington D.C. over the future of the Internet.
We follow the story of Blip.tv, an ambitious video-streaming startup. They're fighting for a corner of the Internet marketplace in the midst of a battle over so-called 'net neutrality' -- the idea that all Internet content and websites are given the same access to audiences and customers. If telecommunication giants have their way, companies like Blip.tv might be forced to compete in a marketplace wherein firms with large coffers can buy access to greater bandwidth and faster Internet speeds, leaving sites who can't afford to pay in the slow lane.
Craig Aaron of Free Press, a media watchdog group, says big telecom companies have declared open season on 'Net neutrality.' He's afraid these companies will dictate how we use the Internet. "I think one of the beauties of the Internet is that it's been open to views across the political spectrum. And if you hand the control of the information so that some can be preferred over others, you're going to be handing that control to the big media companies that already control our television, airwaves, radio, you name it," Aaron says.
For their part, telecom companies argue that a fast lane on the Internet for those willing to pay will allow them to make a return on their multibillion-dollar investment in broadband infrastructure. At present, companies such as Verizon and AT&T only charge for access to the Internet, but make virtually no money from content.
"It's just, by the way, the same reason why we take 18 wheeler semi-trailers and make them pay more in federal highway taxes than someone who drives their family in a mini-van: because they are putting more load on the infrastructure and therefore should pay a higher rate," says Mike McCurry, head of Hands Off the Internet.
His group, backed by a number of telecom companies, says that many web companies are making billions off the Internet but are not willing to pitch in to upgrade its infrastructure. The telecom companies have launched an aggressive, multi-million dollar advertising campaign against web giants such as Google and Amazon arguing "they don't want to pay for anything."
Those who support net neutrality -- including a broad coalition of consumer groups, higher education organizations, special interests, and Internet companies -- say the telecoms just want to increase their profits. They fear that the proposed two-tiered Internet would kill a democratic marketplace wherein small businesses compete on an equal footing with giants of commerce.
Whose Internet is it anyway? Next time on NOW.
2. George Christian, a Gagged Librarian Speaks
Also this week, David Brancaccio talks to George Christian, one of four Connecticut librarians silenced by the FBI when the government attempted to use the Patriot Act to access personal library records. This week, after the gag order was lifted, the librarians spoke publicly for the first time."
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Labels:economy Collapse Meltdown Net Neutrality
MARC FABER NEWS
Dr. Doom? Marc Faber Sees Stock Buying Opportunity
The dean of doom, Marc Faber, told CNBC on Tuesday that a variety of asset classes—including equities—may be worth buying for short-term gains. In the midst of market volatility on concerns over Federal Reserve tapering, he said, "Treasury bonds ...
Marc Faber aka Dr. Doom: S&P 500 Index Could Fall 20% To 30% Easily
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The Market Oracle
The Fed's 'tapering' comments have ramped up market volatilaty and Faber gives some advice for short and long-term strategies. For example: ""The best course of action is to actually not buy anything, but rather to reduce positions on a rebound," Faber ...
Marc Faber: Bull in the short term, bear in the long term
... so perhaps it's best left to someone who has historically said “sell.” Marc Faber, author of the ”The Gloom, Boom & Doom Report,” and often called “Dr. Doom” because of his bearish sentiment, says there are buying opportunities — at least in the ...
Marc Faber: Gold a possible canary in the deflation coalmine
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MARC FABER: The Way Things Are Going, Bernanke Will Have To Give Us 96 ...
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“Sentiment on Gold and Bonds Incredibly Negative” – Marc Faber Predicts ...
Marc Faber Sees Further Downside
China's factory output weakened to a 9-month low today, and financials saw a huge sell-off today, with the FM traders; and The Gloom, Boom and Doom Report's Marc Faber, shares his economic outlook. There's plenty of room for the stock market to decline ...
Marc Faber: More S&P downside, commodities 'horrible'…except gold
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[An earlier version of this blog mistakenly attributed the comments to Marc Faber's blog. The original comments were made in an interview with Barron's on June 1. The comments were picked up Tuesday in a tracking blog that aggregates Faber's public ...
Dr. Doom Marc Faber: Don't Bet on New Market Highs
Faber said large cap stocks like McDonald's, Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble and Wal-Mart "have most likely peaked." However, he thinks there are still stocks that show strength that could continue to appreciate "because all the money flows into fewer and ...
Marc Faber Is Glad He Owned Stocks, Even As He Warned Everyone Of Stock ...
"People with assets are all doomed, because prices are grossly inflated globally for stocks, bonds, and collectibles," says the investment advisor in a new interview published in this week's Barron's. But Faber is the first to admit that at least the ...
Marc Faber notes liquidity squeeze depressing stocks but still buying gold
Famously contrarian in his approach, Dr. Faber is usually out of step with Wall Street but has an excellent reputation for calling the major market turns. He does not say he is shorting equities, though he notes emerging market equities and currencies ...