NPR logo An Internet Fight Song

An Internet Fight Song

There's an ongoing struggle over the future of the Internet and we have one of the fight songs. The issue is "network neutrality" and I had to call Laura Sydell, one of our tech reporters, for help with the basics here. Network neutrality is what many believe exists now on the Internet as sort of an egalitarian operating principle, with entrepreneurs competing on a level field for your valuable mouse clicks.

But the telecommunications companies that own the wires that bring the Internet into our houses want to be able to charge Google or Amazon for priority access. Google pays more to get to your computer screen faster. Smaller outfits can't afford it. Thus, the inherent, fragile neutrality of the Web is torn asunder. The telecoms say the end result is better and cheaper service — a more robust Internet and one that makes more business sense.

The issue's been before Congress. Today, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a proponent of equal treatment for all content and applications, said the matter is "very, very high on the agenda."

We close with the aforementioned song. It's called "God Save the Internet" (audio) and it comes from Kay Hanley, Jill Sobule and Michelle Lewis, three female musicians, who, together, are known as the Broadband. If we come across a song in favor of doing away with network neutrality, we'll post that one as well...

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