First Posted: 9/22/2009 3:34:18 PM | Last Updated: 9/22/2009 3:34:18 PM
By George Blake
OurTown Media, the parent company of Cincipulse, supports net neutrality, the company reaffirmed today through its 70,000 OurTown.com hyperlocal websites
“We believe all users of the internet should be able to access what they want, when they want it and at the fastest speed,” OurTown said. “Blocking or slowing web content should be prohibited, regardless of its source, and we support legislative mandates to accomplish this.”
We were pleased this week when FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said the FCC would prevent broadband carriers from limiting access to high speed Internet for things like Internet-based voice calls, video streaming, and legal file sharing.
Genachowski said the FCC will begin to formalize Net Neutrality rules in the United States. He also called for an end to the practice by the internet service providers such as AT&T, Verizon and Comcast that prevent consumers from accessing Internet content that they consider competitive, such as music and video content downloads.
Some U.S. senators, however, have expressed concern about Genachowski’s position, saying regulatory mandates and restrictions could stifle investment incentives. As OurTown has said previously, we believe telecoms, cable companies and Internet Service Providers want to be gatekeepers, choosing which sites load quickly or slowly or not at all – often depending on whether or not they are paid for access. They want to reserve top speed for their own products, slowing down or even blocking those of competitors.
While spokesmen for the ISPs have said this week that they support an open internet, OurTown believes FCC edicts or legislation are needed. Any block on net neutrality would, in fact, stifle competition and limit access to information. Such a block should be prevented. We support Genachowski’s position.
There should be no toll booths on the information superhighway, as cyberspace was initially known.
“We need to keep consumers in control of what content and services they want,´ OurTown has said. “Anything that stifles consumer choice and free speech may well stifle the growth of the internet and the economic markets it is creating. Let us assure the Internet stays free and fair.”
George Blake, chief news officer of OurTown, formerly was editor of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Fort Myers (FL) News-Press and Pacific Daily News. He is past president of the Ohio Newspaper Assn. and past vice president of the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors. He is CEO of Pridatco Inc. and past chairman of BrandWatch Global Technologies.