August 18, 2010

Once again The UpTake steps to the plate!  The UpTake crew, mostly volunteers, will be on hand Thursday evening when media moguls, access advocates, journalists, librarians, entrepreneurs, and information mavens of every stripe —  just about anybody who has dipped a toe into the digital world – will gather for a public hearing on the future of the Internet, with two Federal Communications Commission (FCC) commissioners in attendance.  The hearing is Thursday, August 19, 6:00 p.m. in the South High School Auditorium, 3131 19th Avenue South, Minneapolis. 

FCC Commissioners Michael Copps and Mignon Clyburn will join locals, including Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and other speakers to be announced. There will also be time for public comment. The UpTake will provide live broadcast and will also videotape the entire event.

What is Network Neutrality?

As described on the Consumers Union website:

"Network neutrality is a fancy way of saying the networks that deliver the Internet should treat all content, sites, and applications equally and shouldn't discriminate against certain traffic based on its source, destination or message. The basic idea is the Internet should be open so consumers have unrestricted access to lawful Web sites and online businesses can compete freely.

"Some Internet service providers want to give preferential treatment to certain network traffic -for example, their own content or that of those willing to pay extra fees. Without network neutrality Internet service providers could block or slow down traffic to any Web sites or services they choose. Services, such as making free or cheap phone calls over the Internet, or streaming video, could be blocked. So could the sharing of lawful media content or access to certain political content."

The hearing is hosted by three national organizations – Free Press, Main Street Project, and the Center for Media Justice – through their Media Action Grassroots Project (MAG-net).   They have lobbied long and hard on issues of network neutrality and broadband access.  The premise of the hearing is that the big guys have had their say and that the FCC needs to hear from the rest of us.

By way of introduction, the Uptake is currently providing background material, including an overview of the hearing, an FCC debate from October, and an interview with Senator Al Franken (above), a vocal advocate for network neutrality and access. 

Broadband Summit

Also coming up next week is a Broadband Summit at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, hosted by Senator Amy Klobuchar. This summit will focus on the need for making high-speed broadband available to all Minnesotans. Senator Klobuchar will be joined by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski, who will give the keynote address, followed by a panel discussion.

Tuesday August 24, 2010 10 am to 12 pm
University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management – 3M Auditorium
321 19th Ave South, Minneapolis MN 55455
Please RSVP to this event by emailing [email protected].


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