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Net Neutrality Divides Christian, Conservative Groups

While the Christian Coalition backs net neutrality, other groups take the opposite side.

For people who frequent YouTube, Facebook, and Google, net neutrality is a hot topic. For Christian and conservative groups, it became a divisive topic today.

While the Christian Coalition supports net neutrality, 12 politically conservative and Christian conservative groups today began lobbying against net neutrality, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Net neutrality means that Internet service providers, such as Comcast, would not be able to discriminate in the service they provide. All traffic would transfer at the same speed over the network, regardless of the nature of the content or who provides it.

The issue primarily is on whether the providers can charge Web sites like YouTube or Google more money to deliver their content faster. The Christian Coalition argues that this fee would hurt grassroots organizations.

However, the 12 groups want the Internet providers to be allowed to block content such as pornography from some sites, a block that could be otherwise be prohibited under net neutrality proposals. Signers included David A. Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union and Gary Bauer, president of American Values.

Part of their letter states: "We write to you to warn of the dangers of net neutrality. Now is not an appropriate time for the FCC to act. Network management is not some insidious method of stifling voices on the Internet; network management is critical to stop pornographers and pedophiles from having unfettered access to consumers' Internet connections."

The Christian Coalition has long supported net neutrality, listing it at second for its legislative agenda for 2008.

The coalition writes: If "Net Neutrality" legislation does not pass, consumers will have to pay an additional fee to have a website. The cable/telephone monopoly will be dividing the Internet into a "fast track" and "slow track." Our grassroots, who cannot afford the additional fees, will have to be on the slow track, which will mean that many of our websites will be passed by because the general public will not have the patience to go on the "slow track".

The Federal Communications Commission became interested in the issue because of a recent case involving Comcast's filtering of sites. Chairman Kevin Martin is arguing for greater fairness and transparency by Internet providers.

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