Yesterday was an absolutely rotten day for the concept of an open Internet free of roadblocks, slowdowns, under-the-hood obstacles to content from those content creators and services that won't submit to the broadband duopolists white hat (be our content partner) or black hat (stealth tweaks to deliver content partner- and your competitors- web services at an equal rate.
My ZDNet colleague Mitch Radcliffe hits it right on the head when he writes:
"The Senate Commerce Committee, splitting 11 to 11 and therefore rejecting compromise language, set the stage for a carrier-controlled Internet. If the bill passes the Senate and is signed by the President, you can kiss the Net you know "goodbye." Farewell, open networks and open standards. Soon every packet will be subject to inspection and surcharges based on what it carries and who sent it or where it is going."
No one who knows anything about how the political game is played in Washington should be surprised. Liberal-oriented MoveOn.org, bless their hearts, have been trying hard- even spinning alliances with conservative organizations such as the Christian Coalition and Gun Owners of America as an effort to show Congress that a broad swath of Americans insist on Net Neutrality. These organizations came on board in part because the lack of Net Neutrality as one that makes an Internet content distribution framework in which dissemination of their views could be slowed by carrier trickery.
But it didn't work, now did it. Seems like almost all the 11 Senators who voted against net neutrality are of a political stripe, and party, accurately perceived as being sensitive to the wishes of gun owners and conservative Christians.
So why didn't this big tent work? Easy. Because if I am a conservative Senator who is reflexively anti-regulation and pro-big business (i.e. carrier duopolists) while being say, pro-life and pro-gun, I know that gun owners and Christian Coalition members are not going to vote for my opponent out of disappointment I didn't vote for Net neutrality.
I know this because I know these people. They care about gun-owner rights, pro-life legislation, etc. far more than they do about Net Neutrality. Want proof? Look on the Christian Coaltion's Home Page. No mention of NN. Gun Owners Of America's home page? None there, either.
Now if I, a Senator or Rep., flipped on my pro-gun or pro-life stance, now that might make a difference.
Sorry to say this, but if anyone really thought that Net Neutrality support from these organizations was going to throw fear into the minds Senators or Congresspeople who weren't going to vote for Net Neutrality anyway, you are really being naive.
Still, the battle might not be completely over. But with 1/3 of Senators and all 435 Representatives eager to get back to their Districts to campaign this fall, it just might be.