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Imagine a world without YouTube. Where would all the cat videos live? The FCC is in the process of implementing rules that could squash the next two nerds in a pizzeria with a great idea. Everyone should care about this, but it feels too technical for a lot of people. Sen. Al Franken lays out the argument for net neutrality with a clarity anyone can understand.

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Sen. Al Frank: Hi I'm Senator Al Frank. It was American taxpayers who paid for the development of the Internet like DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Since then, the Internet has changed everything about the way we communicate with each other and the astounding innovation that accompanied and accelerated this revolution was possible only because of the basic architecture of the Internet, net neutrality.

Net neutrality is the principle that all data on the Internet should be treated equally. Under net neutrality, Internet Service Providers have to let all content flow at the same speed. Let me give you an example of how net neutrality has enabled innovation. Before YouTube, there was Google TV. Google TV wasn't that great, so some guys started YouTube over a pizzeria in San Mateo, Ca. YouTube was better than Google TV and because both traveled at the same speed to the viewer, people were able to make a choice between the two.

YouTube won out and Google ended up buying YouTube for a lot of money and everyone has benefited. Now, net neutrality is under threat as it never has been. The chairman of the FCC has proposed new rules to permit a fast link for content providers that are willing and able to pay for it. This means that big corporations will be able to get their content delivered faster. 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 would end up paying for it with higher rates for internet service and new obstacles accessing the content we want.

This is the free speech issue of our time. We cannot allow the FCC to implement a pay-to-play system. That silences our voices and amplifies that of big corporate interests. We have come to a crossroads. Now is the time to rise up and my our voices heard to preserve net neutrality. We pay 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. We need your help. Are you with me?

There may be small errors in this transcript.

Video via Bold Progressives. To learn more about net neutrality, check out NoSlowLanes.com. Thumbnail image via Thinkstock.

May 29, 2014

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