Jeff Pulver, a well-known and respected player and blogger in the VoIP space is a proponent of a concept called Net Neutrality. He held a competition to spur creative and persuasive ideas that will ensure the Internet remains a level playing field.
[Net neutrality is] the general principle that …companies selling broadband Internet access to consumers should not make contracts with service providers (such as websites) to provide better Internet access than is available for service providers who don't have such agreements.
You have probably heard “Net Neutrality” bandied about in the press lately as a provision was attached to legislation considered earlier this year, but ultimately failed in both the House and Senate. Net neutrality proponents will work to get this legislation introduced again next year. And for those of you that have worked in Government Affairs, you will know that this is often a multi-year process.
The first round of the competition, which carried a $1,000 prize was won by Chris Burke with his video, “Can’t Buy Me Net.”
His submission is clever, but not very refined, and probably would be more effective with general audiences than Congress. So, Jeff has upped the ante. He will hold Round II of the competition with a $5,000 prize and submissions due by August 1, 2006.
Jeremy Pepper had a great post last week about why we should care about Net Neutrality and this week about why public relations professionals should be experimenting with online viral video and vlogs.
So, if you care about net neutrality and you want to dabble in making an online video, this could be a good opportunity. I would love to see one of the big agencies devote some resources to this idea, Jeremy?
There is a well-organized group against net neutrality too called Hands Off of the Internet. They are largely funded by telecomms, but they released this video about the Future of the Internet. As you can see, the pro-net-neutrality side has some work to do.
Here is an image outlining both sides of the issue. I don't know enough to make a decision about which side is right, but I would love to see the pro-net-neutrality side illustrated as well as the con side was.
Full Disclosure: Jeff Pulver is the client of Alan Weinkrantz, a friend and fellow PR blogger here in San Antonio, and Alan has fully briefed me on this campaign