Minnesota Senator Al Franken says the battle over net neutrality is the "free speech" issue for this generation. In his statement on the issue, Franken believes that maintaining net neutrality is vital to the future of the Internet and free speech as a whole.
The Senator lashed out at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which has proposed to let large companies purchase "fast lanes" online that would allow them to have faster video uploading and viewing speeds. Franken and other critics have said this would enable the Internet to work in an environment where the biggest checkbook wins out and leaves smaller enterprises on the outside looking in.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, in defending the proposal, has said that "the proposal would establish that behavior harmful to consumers or competition by limiting the openness of the Internet will not be permitted."
But Franken contends that the FCC's proposal would abolish net neutrality and give more power to a small handful of large corporations, creating "higher rates for Internet service, and new obstacles to accessing the content that we want."
In his YouTube.com video, Franken attacks the proposals and says he will maintain all his efforts to fight against what he argues in the creation of an Internet monopoly that would destroy the current level of openness. Beyond that, it is an attack on the First Amendment and free speech in general across the United States.
"Net neutrality is the principle that all data on the Internet should be treated equally. Under Net neutrality, internet service providers have to let all content flow at the same speed," he says.
Franken lashes out against the FCC further in his defense of smaller companies that will have no means at their disposal to compete against the large companies like Google, Apple, Disney and others.
"Mom and pop stores would lose even more ground to corporate giants. Big media companies will be able to get their version of the news to consumers faster, and would end up paying for it with higher rates for internet service, and new obstacles to accessing the content that we want," Franken says.
Net neutrality has become a major tipping point issue in the tech world, with more and more media coverage being given to the discussion over the FCC's proposal of the so-called "fast lanes." For now, the FCC has attempted to defend the move, although some in the organization have spoken out against the idea, saying it will hurt more than the few who stand to benefit.