There May Come A Day Without Food Blogs

A couple of readers brought this issue to my attention a week or so ago, and I have been meaning to blog about it.

Then, Pim got ahold of it, and suggested “A Day Without Food Blogs” where food bloggers use their front pages to publicize the fact that big telecom service providers such as AT&T and Comcast–known in industry jargon as “The Pipes” are lobbying Congress to allow them to turn the Internet into their own little money-making venture.

They want to undemocratize the Internet and provide fast service only to those companies and websites who will be able to pay for faster service, while individuals, smaller companies and bloggers–folks like you and me–will be stuck putting our blogs and websites on “the slow lane.”

This is not the same thing as consumers paying for connection speed, where folks who want it can pay for DSL and cable, and get faster connection speeds than folks on dial-up. In fact, consumer connection speed will not much matter, if the sites you want to visit, like say, this one, did not pay some telecom giant a huge fee so that my site will load quickly. If that happened and you had DSL or cable, and I hadn’t payed the “toll”, my site would still load at a snail’s pace.

While, I am sure all the blogs that the big newspapers like the New York Times and The San Francisco Chronicle, would load with lightening speed.

So, if you just want to read what professional journalists have to say about food, life and everything else, this is great.

If not, it sucks.

Here is a list of resources for you to get more information:

From the Washington Post

From Slate

From the Baltimore Sun

From My Direct Democracy

Spread the word, though, because the big media are being fairly reticent on this issue–probably because it will benefit them.

Oh–and even if you don’t live in the US–this will affect you, because of the number of routers that are here in the US.

If you don’t like this “get richer and bigger” scheme of the telecome companies, do something about it–raise your voice and make it heard!

Follow these links and spread the news to your net-friends, and fight the attempt to make the Internet safe only for big money and big news.

Save The Internet

Don’t Mess With The Net

If you are in the US–write to your senators and congresspeople, and if you are not–make your voice heard via petition–and frankly, contact your governments as well. Perhaps your governments can apply pressure to help keep your access to the Internet safe from American corporate greed.

Thank you, Pete, Maureen and Pim for your efforts in getting the word out and getting food bloggers to cover this most important issue.


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  1. […] It is looking like a day without food blogs, not to mention other noncommercial sites may well come to pass. And it could easily stretch into several days. Or at least that is my impression after reading today’s posts on Barbara’s blog “Tigers & Strawberries” There May Come A Day Without Food Blogs. […]

    Pingback by blog from OUR kitchen » A day without food blogs?... we adore good food — May 16, 2006 #

  2. Barbara asked me about this the other day.

    This is essentially why traditionally there was a distinct federally mandated line between Content and Conduit. Meaning that part of the semi-monopoly agreements that the Telephone Companies,” (hereafter referred to as “Telcos,”) agreed to for the ownership of the phone lines was that they couldn’t provide ANY content that would be carried on those lines. They could only allow access to it.

    This, of course, all changed in the beauty that was the Telecommunications Act of 1996, (read that last line with as much sarcasm as you can muster, and you still wouldn’t come close to the level that was intended by your humble writer.)

    The arguement is that the Telco’s are so busy trying to keep up with the existing demand of bandwidth that they can’t expand the broadband network into new areas. Therefore the “Digital Divide” is still a major problem. “We can’t build out, because we’re so busy trying to build up what we’ve got.”

    They honestly do have a point. With dynamic, rich media-on-demand content growing day by day, (first MP3’s and Peer-to-peer, and streaming audio, to steaming video and Vlogs, etc. etc. etc. etc.) they’re being asked to carry more and more content faster and faster. This content is being produced and distributed by big companies as well.

    Why SHOULDN’T, who stream HUNDREDS of Terabytes of information per week, (I don’t know for sure, but I’m being modest in my estimates,) pay more to GET that content out there, than a guy like me who hosts some streaming video on my lowly little site. That IS fair.

    That’s what THEY’RE saying.

    They’re also saying that they want to provide value added priority to their partner services, (such as the Yahoo!/SBC services.) People are looking at this and saying “It won’t be fair if SBC doesn’t provide the same bandwidth to Google as it does to Yahoo!”

    These organizations claim that they’re not so much discriminating, but they want to reserve bandwidth for their own services. Everyone else get’s the same treatment. What they supply specially is just value added service to their customers.

    Sounds legal. There is precident for what is happening according to the Federal Trade Commission. Restaraunt chains are allowed to exclusively offer certain products, (such as McDonald’s will 99.9% of the time carry Coca-Cola products, and Arby’s will 99.9% of the time carry Pepsico products.) Certain automotive garage chains only use parts and products from certain suppliers.

    But this is hardly shitty fast food! (for more on the terrors of Shitty Fast Food, just read the rest of this blog.) What if you weren’t allowed a choice as to whether to get McDonalds or Arbys? You DON’T have a choice with this. The Telcos OWN the lines that run to your house, and into your area.

    “Well, I don’t deal with my local Telco. I have no land-line, only Cel phone, and I have broadband through cable!”

    Where do you think your local cable outlet gets their high-speed net access? They usually have multiple T3 connections that are hard-wired into their OWN cable lines that snake through your neighborhood. By default, those T3 lines are provided by whoever is the local Telco in your area.

    If, (like me,) you’re dealing with a local “Mom and Pop” ISP, (a dying breed for sure, for this very reason,) then you might have problems as well. Prioity service to that ISP could be greatly affected, or THEIR access to their partner organizations could if those partner organizations aren’t in the “Family” of the local Telco. If the ISP has to abandon those, and pay top dollar to the Telco for access to their communication network, (because the Mom and Pop ISP is essentially IN COMPETITION with the local Telco for providing a conduit to the Internet for local customers,) that WILL KILL those ISPs, who are barely on life support right now.

    Wal Mart Politics.

    With Wal Mart, you can “just not shot there,” but with this, for folks like me, who are rural enough that they DON’T have any broadband options at all, (no cable, and no Verizon broadband for me,) there is NOTHING that we can do. The Digital Divide gets wider and wider.

    For folks who DO have broadband cable, your cable companies might very well be in competition with your local Telco, (depending the combination of who your local Telco and who your local Cable conglomerate is,) which means that if you live in the wrong place, you might be negatively effected.

    On top of that, we’re not talking about hamburgers or shoes when we’re talking about the content of the World Wide Web. We’re talking about CULTURAL products. Media is a completly different commodity than any other product industry out there!

    Part of the reason the FCC is involved now has to do with media convergence. This could be the one thing that saves us, as the FTC has no legal leg to really stand on. One of the major tennants of the FCC, (though seriously crippled by the Act of ’96,) is the concept of localism and public interest. The Web wasn’t built by corporations. It wasn’t built by the Telcos. It was build by folks like you and me.

    So, while I’m not a big fan of most communication legislation, (as it’s usually too little too late, and written by people who have no clue about communications technology,) I’m with Barbara.

    They claim that this will generate revenue to narrow the digital divide, but what good does a broadband connection do us if all of the quality, independent outlets for content and information are gone?

    Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon has introduced a bill into congress, (S. 2360) that will prevent this discrimination against services outside those of the Telcos.

    You can read it for yourself here (as a downloadable PDF:

    E-Mail your Senators, and tell them to support this bill! The little guys on the net who are crying out against the big guys of CNN, MSNBC, the Food Network, etc. etc. etc. will thank you for it.


    Comment by Dan — May 17, 2006 #

  3. Get on with your bad self, Dan! Preach on, my brother!

    Comment by Barbara — May 18, 2006 #

  4. Oh, and this is the same Dan who seldom posts here, because he says he doesn’t know much about food, except that he likes to eat it.

    As you can see, he knows a damned sight better than I do about Telcoms and the like–this is not surprising because he is the head of the Multi-Media department at Ohio University Lancaster. Hence that big comment up there, where he lays it all out much better than I did.

    Comment by Barbara — May 18, 2006 #

  5. Geeze Barbara do not be so hard on yourself!

    Comment by dave — December 12, 2006 #

  6. […] Tigers & Strawberries » There May Come A Day Without Food Blogs 16 May 2006. Follow these links and spread the news to your net-friends, and fight the attempt to make the Internet safe only for big money and big news. Tigers & Strawberries » There May Come A Day Without Food Blogs […]

    Pingback by Big day netfriends - Big foot - Big day — December 13, 2010 #

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