Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Does Big Telco Really Want To Charge for Internet Site Access?

The backlash is starting against Big Telco and we ought not to let them off the hook (sic). Many years ago it was backlash against The Big Three automakers out of Detroit. We can see what is happening to them for lack of effective response to the public demands. Then it moved to Big Tobacco and, then Big Pharma. Now it is Big Telco’s turn to feel the marketplace backlash from the public.

Now it is a more interesting phenomenon and a more level playing field for the public because of the Internet. People (like citizens) are in an ugly mood and an Ipsos Reid survey says 55% of us are ticked, mad or angry these days. And 35% of us apparently feel helpless to change things and we bottle up our frustration. Change is not easy and activism take energy, focus and commitment but that is the price of freedom my friends.

Some notable examples of activism folks who have started Facebook Groups. Then we see the emergence and thriving of This site was originally an anti-Rogers site that has apparently morphed into a “…one-stop shop for ticked off wireless customers.”

This privatization of access to information is so 19th century. The open and free access to information on the Internet is one of the best guarantees of an open and accountable democracy. To allow Big Telco to determine who gets to access and use information based on fees for site access is a threat of enormous proportions.

Big Telcos seem to think the Internet should be like specialty subscription television. That is a stupid as saying television should be like radio. That said, given all the talking heads on TV these days, TV has become too much in common with radio.

The Internet is far from perfect and is down- right dangerous in some cases. I am thinking child pornography and sexual luring, especially of children. However it is society and our legislators who ought to be making the rules, settings the community standards and dealing with abuse. We ought not to delegate this social responsibility of dealing with the Internet to Big Telco.

Free speech is not free, and its protection demands vigilance by citizens. There is a price to pay to sustain the right of free speech. To allow Big Telco to set the rules, the standards and privatize free speech as they see fit is wrong and contrary to a free and democratic society.

Citizens need to get involved to protect their free speech rights, from government and industry and even some special interests kooks too. Speak out and let your voice be heard – at least amongst your neighbours, co-workers, friends and family.

Free Speech! Use it or lose it.