The future of telecommunications starts now; there's a new U.S. Telecom Bill in the works, there's new networks in Europe, fast fiber in Asia, wireless across Africa and networks a-building in cities and villages around the world. Join the discussion. Shape the debate. Assert your F2C:Freedom to Connect.

The need to communicate is primary, like the need to breathe, eat, sleep, reproduce, socialize and learn. Better connections make for better communication. Better connections drive economic growth through better access to suppliers, customers and ideas. Better connections provide for development and testing of ideas in science and the arts. Better connections improve the quality of everyday life. Better connections build stronger democracies. Strong democracies build strong networks.

F2C:Freedom to Connect begins with two assumptions. First, if some connectivity is good, then more connectivity is better. Second, if a connection that does one thing is good, then a connection that can do many things is better.

F2C:Freedom to Connect belongs with Freedom of Speech, Press, Religion and Assembly. Each of these freedoms is related to the others and depends on the others, but stands distinct. Freedom to Connect, too, depends on the other four but carries its own meaning. Unlike the others, it does not yet have a body of law and practice surrounding it. There is no Digital Bill of Rights. Freedom to Connect is the place to start.

The openness of the Internet is the main reason for its success, yet the Internetís openness is not assured. The most viable bill before the U.S. Congress would require even the smallest wireless hotspot provider to register with the U.S Government. In addition, the FCC is imposing requirements to provide Internet emergency dialing and law enforcement assistance in ways that only the biggest, least innovative connection providers can hope to meet.

Too often the discussion of telecommunications policy turns on phrases like "overregulation," and "investment incentives." These are critical issues, to be sure, but like the term "last mile," such phrases frame the issues in network-centric terms. As more and more intelligence migrates to the edge of the network, users of the network need to be part of the policy debate. Let's put the user back into the picture. F2C:Freedom to Connect provides the frame.

It is written that Freedom of the Press is only for those with presses. But F2C:Freedom to Connect is potentially available to everybody; the main economic limit is the need for sustainable networks that will improve as new technology becomes available. How can we best do this? Who will build, operate and govern these networks? Who will decide how we use them? Who will pay? Who will gain? Aha! Let's discuss it at F2C:Freedom to Connect.

There's no time for small meetings and isolated efforts, so F2C:Freedom to Connect is produced by isen.com and pulvermedia, in partnership with the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, Tropos Networks, OíReilly Media, Public Knowledge, OneWebDay, Broadband Properties, Voxeo, LavaLife, firstmile.us, Atlantech, and other sponsors to produce F2C:Freedom to Connect on April 3 & 4, 2006 at the AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring, MD. F2C:Freedom to Connect will bring Internet innovators, entrepreneurs, investors and visionaries to meet with advocates and policy makers shaping the next generation of Internet law and policy.

Connect with F2C:Freedom to Connect on Monday and Tuesday, April 3-4, 2006 at the AFI Silver Theater in Silver Spring, MD, a mere five Red Line stops from Union Station.

The goal of F2C:Freedom to Connect is to bring a wide range of thought leaders to Washington, DC to share experience, insight and wisdom with policy makers, and to develop a better, more complete understanding of how technology and policy might evolve together in a virtuous cycle of economic growth and freedom. F2C:Freedom to Connect is unlike any other event, bringing new voices and a new range of perspectives to evolving Internet policy.

Connect with F2C:Freedom to Connect on Monday and Tuesday, April 3-4, 2006 at the AFI Silver Theater in Silver Spring, MD.