Monday, April 03, 2006

Net Neutrality

Get to know those words: Net Neutrality.

I've written about the concept before. Now, as the bill involving that idea makes its way through Congress, the mainstream media have done a horrible job of covering it. No one is explaining what it is and why it matters to you.

Trust me, this really matters to you.

Whether you're a Republican or a Democrat, surely you must know that the only reasonable way to "run" the Internet is to leave it the way it is: one price for all-you-can-eat.

That's what "net neutrality" means. All the websites you wish to visit, all at the highest speed you can get. Like it is supposed to be now.

The telcos want to change that. They want to get into the act, charging more for high-speed sites and services. As soon as the telephone companies are able to "tier" the Internet, the way they do with cable, Internet service will become as expensive and as monopolized as cable. This is a land-grab by the telephone companies. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. (There are already allegations they're futzing with VOIP packets in some markets.)

They envision a day where you'd be free to go to a Yahoo or Ask.com website, but it'll be slow because your ISP has made an exclusive high-speed deal with, say, Google. Believe it or not, they call that "leveling the playing field." George Orwell would be proud of doublespeak like that.

The only reason we have companies like Google is because everyone has equal access to everything, which spurs innovation. Do you know anyone who feels the Internet's creativity and growth needs to be slowed and stifled just now? Neither do I.

Read the news (especially on News.com), and follow the words "net neutrality" closely. This bill affects your day-to-day life like few pieces of legislation in our lifetime.

3 comments:

gina said...

I hadn't heard of this, Mike. It's outrageous. Thank you for the heads up.

Michael Markowitz said...

You're welcome, Gina... it gets worse. The telcos also want to get into the cable business, and the federal gov't wants to take the regulation out of the hands of the cities. It's a mess. Thanks for looking into it.

Michael Markowitz said...

For anyone interested, the House markup (debate) of this bill will be on CSPAN2 tonight at 8 Eastern - 5 Pacific