Copowi the first ISP to guarantee net neutrality goes live
August 08, 2007 (PRLEAP.COM) Technology NewsCopowi.com, the first independent ISP to offer net neutrality guarantees, went live this week offering a range of high speed Internet access plans covering eleven states plus a nationwide dialup service. Copowi specifically guarantees not to degrade or modify user data and not to discriminate between users for commercial or other reasons. It clearly targets the two million plus Internet users who are dissatisfied with the direction mainstream telcos and cable companies want to take the Internet with their plans for a tiered Internet.
"The net neutrality debate has created a new market segment whose needs are not being met. Until now all this segment could do was comment, demonstrate and petition," said Chris Ellis co-founder of Copowi. "With Copowi they can now vote with their feet because they now have a clear choice which satisfies their need for an open and fair Internet," he added.
Copowi, which stands for Community Powered Internet, aims to revitalize the independent ISP sector which has been steadily declining over the last five years. Nevertheless there are currently about 3,500 independent ISPs connecting about 10 million users to the Internet and employing over 30,000 people. "The independent ISP have found it very hard to compete head-to-head against the mainstream ISPs, now they have a clear point of differentiation," say Ellis.
A revitalized independent ISP sector will increase competition and enable the ISPs to negotiate better wholesales prices which will flow back to the consumers, as well as access to a new products and services. It also provides a new prong in the grassroots campaign to save the Internet.
Commenting on the push for a legislative solution to net neutrality, Ellis said, "Legislation alone is unlikely to save the Internet because the key threat is not the corporations. The key threat is apathy. All campaigns eventually fizzle out what is needed is a way to maintain high ongoing awareness of the importance of a fair and open Internet. The independent ISP sector can provide the way."
The more people switch to ISPs who provide net neutrality guarantees, the more ISPs will join in to take advantage of the opportunity. The need for an open and fair Internet will become an integral part of the Features and Benefits of their service. ISPs will also reinforce the message on an ongoing basis as a way of both keeping existing and attracting new subscribers.
The grassroots campaign also provides the independent ISPs with a great opportunity to counter one of the main advantages of the telcos and cable companies: their ability to simply outspend their competition in marketing and advertising. The grassroots campaign connects millions of people and could reinvigorate the independent ISP market virtually overnight without having to spend millions of dollars on advertising and promotions.
Copowi.com is the first ISP to be set up as a social enterprise (as opposed to the corporate profit-focused approach) and the first to provide specific guarantees to keep the Internet open and fair in line with net neutrality requirements.