First and foremost, I apologize for keeping some of you waiting out there. I know I had promised a good article about Net Neutrality and I really want to put a slightly different perspective on things but, alas, it is easy to get derailed when you have lots of projects on the table. That being said, I do have tons of stuff lined up and hope to get some quality content in the next three weeks or so, but first things first… Let’s talk about Internet Neutrality and how the Internet may die soon (if we do not preserve neutrality)!
With just three days left on the supposed final countdown, I am surprised that many people do not have net neutrality on their radar yet they ALL will be affected by the legislation that is in the works. I have talked to many friends about this topic in the past three weeks (basically, during my little blogging sabbatical) and everyone had all the wrong ideas about Net Neutrality. Before I get into the complicated explanations, let’s get one thing straight: net neutrality is a good thing for the common folks, the so-called “little people”, and getting rid of it only benefits the large corporations and wealthy. There’s simply no nicer way of explaining it but I will try to stick to the facts and put emotion aside (at least a bit).
We all know what the Internet is but many of us do not realize the vast scope of things. The Net is a lot more than just the Web. It’s news groups, file transfers, terminal services, online gaming, backoffices, and so much more to many different people. Our government has plans to allow private interest to supercede fairness and justice by giving business control over how we experience the Internet, thus changing the Internet as we know it forever. These companies are selling it by saying it will allow expansion of the Internet to continue at a faster rate, thus bringing broadband into areas where it is currently not available. They also tell you that those that pay a “little more” can experience faster speeds and better content. As expected with the typical corporate sales talk, they’re not telling you the full story.
The beauty of the Internet as a communication medium is that it is probably the one place where people can find everything they want in the least adulterated form. Web sites, blogs and forums especially, are now considered more reliable and less biased news sources than more traditional sources. Why is this? Well, there’s the notion of “every bit being create equal” – everyone experiences the same Internet, no spin, no tailoring, no smoke screens and mirrors. Commercial interest may drive some of the Internet but, as a whole, the Internet is not owned by any group. The Internet, as we know it now, is a true public resource.
Imagine, just for a second, if the Internet was given under the control of private groups, large corporations, the small-interest-serving folks… Can you imagine if a company like Verizon not only control PSTN (traditional telephone) systems but also a major portion of the Internet? Sure, the government steps in and splits up control so that the monopolies are no longer powerful but, in the end, it’s a few suits calling the shots for millions of people. Privatization has all but killed the telecommunications industry, which is exactly why the Net has allowed things like VOIP and hybrid cellular-wireless technology to come to prominence.
Net Neutrality and the Internet go hand-in-hand. The fact that the Internet represents the collective neutral grounds of the world is exactly why it continues to grow rapidly, both in usage and system expansion. To me, this realization makes the matter that of common sense but, as we have discovered time and again, common sense is dead. As I stated in the beginning of my little informative rant here, I was greatly shocked and disappointed to see how many of my own close friends had the wrong information.
Don’t be gullible. The large corporations always dress up things to sound better than what they really are. It’s like the gym representative that tells you you can cancel your membership at any time should you ever not be satisfied. Have you ever spoken to anyone that tried to cancel? They make it near impossible for you to do so and, even after you cancel, they may send you bills. These businesses just want your hard earned money.
The number one myth I am hearing from those that are against Net Neutrality is that people will get better service if service providers are given the power to regulate bandwidth usage. Hogwash. Companies do this now and, even when they do not offer premium packages, they do administrative bandwidth regulation, capping connections and creating false limitations and bottlenecks. There’s nothing keeping service providers from adjusting their price models right now but, maybe, just maybe, they realize that they’ll lose customers to the competition if they get a little too greedy…
So the notion has become that people supporting Net Neutrality are communists. I won’t get into political parties and how they really come into play here but this notion is ridiculous. Apparently, everything bad is communist or unpatriotic. This is the type of mentality that would have people be metaphorically raped as consumers, just to do the “right thing” – does that really make sense? Why make the rich even richer than they already are? There’s no need to increase the cashflow for Internet Service Providers because they have plenty of other services they can offer to drive value and become more profitable.
Here’s the real kicker: the large corporations lobbying to get rid of the Internet as we have known it for a long, long time also fight to keep communities from establishing Internet cafes, learning centers, and things of the sort. In places where broadband services are not available to residential customers, this allows people to have access to a powerful information tool, but the large corporations feel threatened by this and will not allow it. Knowing this sort of thing people are *STILL* siding with the large corporations in the effort to get rid of Net Neutrality, knowing it will destroy the very fiber of the Internet – WHAT???
Let’s look at some of the other implications and repercussions we can expect should Net Neutrality be completely killed off:
- ISPs (Internet Service Providers) can decide what type of content is appropriate and block sites they do not think people should be seeing.
- Large corporations can pay to have their resources given more bandwidth and visibility, making it even harder for small businesses to get noticed (SEO strategies would become almost worthless as well).
- Our privacy will be further infringed upon (good bye P2P of any kind, hello push marketing).
- The Internet will be segmented to the point at which different ISPs will have their own exclusive web sites and miscellaneous Net resources.
- People hosting non-profit sites will have to expect additional operational costs to continue providing the same quality service that they currently do.
- Competition will be strong-armed out of the picture, meaning whatever provider(s) controls a region will determine what services, sites, and resources are available.
- ISPs will determine which resources deserve more bandwidth, thus making some of our favorite Net stops slower and perhaps nearly-unusable during times of heavy traffic.
- Net users will have to pay extra for things they already access for FREE – imagine paying per message when e-mailing people!
I was happy to see most of the blogosphere on the pro-neutrality side of things. Dom’s blog over on Blogspot hit some key points that I think people missed. I’ve reiterated some of them here but go ahead and check out Dom’s blog on Net Neutrality – good stuff!
Even if the competitive geek in you says “it’d be neat to be able to pay more for UBER BROADBAND”, after reading this, I think everyone should see that Net Neutrality is a good thing. We don’t want our last bastion of hope, one of the last fronts for true communication, to go down. Chatting, sharing files, spreading news quickly, advertising a small business… The Net is all about giving the little people a chance to get noticed. If I haven’t made my case, check out the following sites and take action today…
Google and other large corporations have stepped up to fight FOR Net Neutrality so it’s nice to see that not everyone has become corrupt. Google’s executives realize, like many others, that Net Neutrality has existed since the beginning and has made the Internet what it is today. Changing things now would surely destroy the Net. I must say, it’s nice having an 800-pound gorilla fighting on your side!
Don’t let the misinformation campaigns propogated by the evil large corporations fool you. Net Neutrality is a beautifulthing. Let’s preserve neutrality and save the Internet!
*** Only 2 days left – DIGG THIS and spread the word!!! ***