Democratic Senator Al Franken, who is running for re-election in Minnesota, has come out as one of the leading voices condemning the FCC’s proposed rules that would allow Internet “fast lanes” for big corporations. In a new video from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, he made an appeal for more support for net neutrality, saying that it is “the free speech issue of our time.”
Franken argued that net neutrality allowed start-ups with better services to defeat big corporations. He made his case by mentioning the competition between YouTube and Google Video (Google eventually bought YouTube). Franken pointed out that without net neutrality, Google Video would have won out, giving consumers an inferior product. If the FCC rules had been in place then, Google Video would have been able to deliver content at a faster pace than its small competitor.
Franken argued that the FCC’s proposed rules would not only harm competition, it would also force consumers to pay more for services.
“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 we’ll end up paying for it with higher rates for Internet service and new obstacles to accessing the content that we want,” Franken said. “We cannot allow the FCC to implement a pay-to-play system that silences our voices and amplifies that of big corporate interest. We have come to a crossroads. Now is the time to rise up and make our voices heard to preserve net neutrality. We paid for free and open Internet. We can’t let it be taken away. We have to win this and we have to win this now.”
There’s still time to submit your comments to the FCC, so if you want to give them a piece of your mind, you can do it here. A five member commission is set to vote on the draft on May 15. After that, the proposals would be made public.