Net Neutrality Advocates Join Obama Team

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If you don’t know why this is good news, imagine paying for the internet as if it were cable. Sounds ridiculous right? Paying for specific websites within the internet?

Well, that’s been pushed by folks inside and outside of the FCC and now it seems like those who want to keep the internet free and open are set to take over.

From Wired:

The Obama-Biden transition team on Friday named two long-time net neutrality advocates to head up its Federal Communications Commission Review team.

Susan Crawford, a professor at the University of Michigan Law School, and Kevin Werbach, a former FCC staffer, organizer of the annual tech conference Supernova, and a Wharton professor, will lead the Obama-Biden transition team’s review of the FCC.

Why should you love these people? Well, listen to what Crawford had to say this year…

This March at a telecom policy conference in Hollywood, for example, Crawford bluntly told Ambassador Richard Russell, the White House’ associate director on science and technology policy, that he lived in a fantasyland when he asserted that the United States’ roll-out of broadband is going well.

“I think it’s magical thinking to imagine that we’re somehow doing fine here, and I just want to make sure that we recognize that even the [International Telecommunications Union] says that between 1999 and 2006 we skipped form third to 20th place in penetration,” she noted acidly at the annual Tech Policy Summit, a gathering of top officials in the world of tech policy (of which was a participant and sponsor.)

“We’re not doing at all well for reasons that mostly have to do with the fact that we failed to have a US industrial policy pushing forward high-speed internet access penetration, and there’s been completely inadequate competition in this country for high speed internet access,” she said.

And in a final introductory statement during her talk (that’s likely to send shivers down the spines of telecom company executives) she said that she believes internet access is a “utility.”

“This is like water, electricity, sewage systems: Something that each and all Americans need to succeed in the modern era. We’re doing very badly, and we’re in a dismal state,” she said at the time.

Basically, they’re realists and they get the fact that every other country in the world is treating the internet as if it’s a utility and if we don’t do the same, we’re screwed.

More as it develops…