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Working to keep the ‘Net neutral

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WEBSITE: National Conference for Media Reform

RELATED: Why Net neutrality matters

PRO: advocates for Net neutrality

CON: Phone, cable companies’ argument against Net neutrality


MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: If you have concerns about media ownership you’ll be interested in an annual conference that gets underway in Memphis today. Advocates for Media Reform think too few companies own too many commercial media outlets.

One new topic on the agenda this year will be Internet neutrality. The idea is to keep the Internet a level playing field and making sure big companies don’t create tiered access where you pay more to get better service. Marketplace’s Lisa Napoli explains.

LISA NAPOLI: You probably heard the words “Net neutrality” a lot in the year 2006, but what do those words mean?

CRAIG AARON: Net neutrality means no discrimination. What it amounts to is a fight over what the future of the Internet is going to look like.

That’s Craig Aaron of the group Save the Internet.

He says a Net neutrality bill introduced this week in the Senate has a better chance of passing in the new Congress than a similar one that died last year.

The law would keep online providers from stymieing growth on the Internet

Aaron’s encouraged by the recent Net neutrality concessions AT&T made with the FCC in order to get approval for its deal to buy BellSouth.

AARON: It becomes very important who controls those wires and what they can do with them.

Aaron says this weekend in Memphis, advocates for media reform will talk about how to keep the issue alive, so that the Net doesn’t meet the same fate as the carefully-controlled cable industry.

In Los Angeles, I’m Lisa Napoli for Marketplace.

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