From: Zach Scribner <zach@zachtone.com>
To: <DNSTransition@ntia.doc.gov>
Date: Mon, Jul 3, 2006 2:02 AM
Subject: Leave the internet *NEUTRAL*

Hello and thank you for soliciting comments.

I will be as brief as possible.

The Internet as we now know it is a means for anybody to freely express
themselves however they may choose, regardless of their race, religion,
alliances, viewpoint or physical placement in the world. The notion
that anyone should be allowed to declare their position on any number of
things is what the United States was founded on, along with the desire
for freedom from an oppressive body, which, in the time of our founding
fathers, was the British government, but, should internet neutrality be
circumvented, could be the Bells, Verizon and Comcast.

Should internet service providers be allowed to impose *extraneous*
(more on that later) charges on websites that they deem to be so
deserving of a hike in charges, the United States Senate would, in
effect, be handing over it's citizens constitutional rights to the
control of PRIVATE MONOPOLIES.

In itself this handover would be outrageous. However, the fact that
these companies would be leveling charges against companies that
_already pay based on bandwidth load_ would be something akin to double
taxation. What happened to a certain tea-ferrying ship in Boston the
last time undue taxes were imposed?

The bandwidth providers themselves aren't standing on broken legs
either. Through tax breaks and increased service fees, Verizon and the
old Bells reaped about $200 billion since the early 1990s to improve
broadband lines in the US. And what have American consumers received?
The most common DSL Service over the old copper networks tops out at 768
Kbps in most areas---a hundred times slower than routine connections in
other countries. They received massive amounts of funding and
kickbacks, and because they haven't seemed to have invested this money
into delivering service to their customers, they, in essence, got a $200
billion check paid for by myself and every other tax-paying citizen in
America.

If the internet works on a multi-tiered system, with the fast pipes
going to those with the most money, internet service providers would in
a sense be the ones who control speech. For example, should any online
content provider or website produce content that is derogatory or
defaming to one of the ISP's, that website may in turn face stiff
service hikes, which very well may be too high for the site to pay, thus
putting them out of business. Should an ISP launch a product that is
already being offered by another site, that ISP may very well silently
slow traffic to it's competitors site or perhaps, again, raise prices
which would threaten the original companies success. There is no
guarantees that such a system could keep from being abused, and the
temptation to somehow block a competitor from behind the scenes,
regardless of the minor slap on the wrist the company would get should
they somehow be found out, seems all too easy to justify.

The point is this: dissolving Internet Neutrality is bad for the
American citizen, it's bad for our much-beloved freedom of speech and
it's bad for the world as a whole. There is no need whatsoever to bring
in increased revenue for service providers and there is every need to
keep this country's words flowing freely, without restriction and
without bias. Censorship may come in many forms and it is those forms
that go unnoticed, behind the scenes, that are so very damaging to the
fabric of our nation. The breakdown of internet neutrality is one of
those forms and has the potential to ruin one of the most decentralized
and open platforms for personal expression that the world has ever known.

Please, stay true to this countries founders and true to yourselves-- do
not allow big business to buy out our freedoms and pull a veil over our
eyes. Keep the Internet neutral. Keep our voices heard.

Thank you,
Zach Scribner