The Future of the Internet & “Buy Local”

June 26, 2010 by Wally Bowen

Imagine a “buy local” web application custom-made for Asheville and western North Carolina by one of our own local digital media entrepreneurs.

Now imagine that this homegrown “killer app” to support our local economy cannot achieve widespread use because AT&T, Verizon, Charter, and Apple demand licensing fees to use the app on their networks and/or devices.

Unfortunately, this scenario is not only likely, it is completely legal. How we got to this place is explained in a June 16 column originally appearing in the Asheville Citizen-Times.

At 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 10  at the Community Church of Chapel Hill, I will be discussing how we can remedy this situation in a free talk titled  “the Corporate Takeover of the Internet and How To Stop It.”

President Obama made a strong commitment to an open Internet — to policies that protect our civil liberties, our freedom to innovate, AND ensure that, with broadband access, the interests of Main Street come before those of Wall Street.

Not surprisingly, the telephone and cable companies and their allies have launched a ferocious all-out attack – proclaiming a “government takeover of the Internet” – to stop this reform in its tracks.

Fortunately, for the first time in American history, we have a substantial, nationwide media-reform movement to give the Administration — and its allies in Congress and at the FCC — the support they need to withstand the attacks from these powerful corporate interests.

But the media reform movement cannot do this alone. We need ALL stakeholders – especially those from the “buy local” community – to help us seize this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

If we fail, the Internet will be radically changed into an arm of what President Eisenhower called the “military-industrial complex” — but with a high-tech surveillance capability of Orwellian proportions (think retinal-scan/face-recognition via every street-corner camera and mobile phone. Yes, that’s right — our mobile phones!!).

Please forward this link far and wide to your friends and neighbors.

With your help, we can “Save the Internet” – and preserve our ability to build strong “buy local” communities. Si se puede!!

Wally Bowen

“Who will control the Internet in the 21st-century?”

June 17, 2010 by Wally Bowen

“Who Will Control the Internet in the 21st-Century?” is the topic of a talk by media reform activist Wally Bowen at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 1 at Jubilee Community in downtown Asheville.

Bowen is founder and executive director of the nonprofit Mountain Area Information Network (MAIN) and a nationally-known advocate for broadband deployment in rural and other underserved areas. Admission to the talk is free.

Bowen will discuss the recently-released National Broadband Plan in light of a growing threat to the Internet posed by cable and telephone companies, which control more than 95 percent of broadband access in the United States.

In early 2009, Congress ordered the Federal Communications Commission to draft a plan “to ensure every American has access to broadband capability.” Many of the plan’s recommendations can be implemented by the FCC, while others require an act of Congress.

In the 1990s, the Internet moved quickly from research universities and government institutes into mainstream American life, largely because of ‘common-carrier’ protections governing the nation’s telephone networks,” said Bowen.

In 2002, however, the FCC under former chairman Michael Powell surrendered its authority over cable broadband service – effectively removing common-carrier rules — in a controversial 3-2 partisan vote. After legal challenges concluded in 2005, a divided FCC went on to remove common-carrier rules on the telephone companies’ broadband service via digital-subscriber-lines (DSL).

Bowen called common-carriage “a centuries-old legal concept that prohibits a provider of public services, such as a ferry-boat operator, from picking winners and losers.” In the realm of communications, he added, the concept includes privacy and other consumer protections.

“The heart of common-carrier protection is non-discrimination, which means that a broadband provider cannot favor the traffic of, for example, Bank of America, over the traffic of the Bank of Asheville,” said Bowen.

He said the FCC’s controversial 2002 surrender of authority over broadband also gave the cable and telephone broadband providers the power to pick winners and losers among innovations for the broadband-based Web.

“In 1959, a Texas cattle rancher by the name of Tom Carter patented a device that would allow a two-way radio to interconnect with his telephone back at the ranch house. However, AT&T told Mr. Carter that he could not connect his device to the telephone network without AT&T’s permission,” said Bowen.

A legal battle ensued, ending finally in 1968 when the FCC ruled that devices such as the CarterFone were valuable innovations and could connect to the telephone network, provided they didn’t harm the network, Bowen said.

“The CarterFone rules gave us fax machines, answering machines, and dial-up modems for Internet access,” said Bowen. “But the FCC’s abdication of its authority over broadband in 2002 removed CarterFone protections for innovators. That’s one reason Apple had to cut an exclusive deal with AT&T to bring its iPhone to market,” said Bowen.

Bowen called the National Broadband Plan an “historic window of opportunity” to restore the Internet to its original open standards. “If we fail to seize this moment,” said Bowen, “the Internet of the 21st century will become an online space of corporate-control, with limited freedom, privacy and innovation.”

For more information, or directions to Jubilee, please visit the MAIN homepage at or call 255-0182.

Tune in now for a tribute to Garry “Starchild” Shider

June 17, 2010 by Arieh.Samson

Tune into 103.5 LP Main FM Asheville now for a special tribute to the legendary Garry “Doo-Wap” “Starchild” “Diaperman” Shider of Parliament-Funkadelic.  Garry was diagnosed with Brain & Lung cancer and passed away on June 16th, 2010.

Tune in from 12:00am – 4:00am on Thursday June 17th for deep cuts from the Parliament-Funkadelic mythology.

Noise Radius This Week – Russell Anders

June 15, 2010 by Arieh.Samson

This week on Noise Radius:

Interview with Russel Anders, singer-songwriter for the group Blue Jeans & Khaki Pants and engineer at Hill Creek Studio.

A listen to a few selections from the soon-to-be legendary Daytrotter Studio Sessions in Rock Island, IA.  We will hear Bobby Bare Jr., Peter Bjorn & John, Meat Puppets & Neon Indian.

Fur The Gulf founder Matt Harris will talk about gulf restoration and how you can get involved with helping out the clean up effort.  Email Matt Harris @

Noise Radius

Tuesdays 7:00pm – 10:00pm

103.5 LP MAIN-FM

Noise Radius This Week – Now You See Them

June 8, 2010 by Arieh.Samson

This Tuesday on Noise Radius:

A chat with Now You See Them on the wake of their next release.

New music from Arcade Fire, The Black Keys, Foals & Broken Social Scene.

Noise Radius every Tuesday

7:00pm – 10:00pm 103.5 LP main-fm Asheville

Ooze Out Update: Sundown Super Session

June 1, 2010 by onair

Tune in tonight! as we melt your radio with an all analog rock set inspired by Shogo Kubo, Ace Frehley and grapefruit soda. In the second hour cool off in a sparkling stream of alchemical experiments.

When the everywhere-eye
Asks you who is the emperor of the sky
Take the archangel’s thunderbird !

Listen to the Ooze Out Program
Tuesdays at 10 pm on
WPVM 103.5 fm
Asheville NC
ooze out!