methow grist 2011-2014 archive


Well Then, ;P
FCC and net neutrality

[Editor’s note: Wikipedia says, “Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers and governments should treat all data on the Internet equally, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, and modes of communication.”]

To quote

"Liberal critics […] allied with major Web content companies, claim heavy regulation would protect freedom of expression on the Internet and give small business the chance to compete with big businesses. Conservative and libertarian critics […] warn the FCC’s rules are a power grab over the Internet by unelected bureaucrats."

Both liberals and conservatives are correct because human nature remains just as it has always been.

I keep telling this old tale about the internet back before 1995, when I was hosting the World Wide Belch Contest. The majority of control on net neutral internet was owned by moderators of News Groups, groupings of interest in every imaginable subject matter from A to Z with a stop at, yes, porn along the way. Like I said, human nature prevails.

Everything on the internet was pretty much unfiltered and not traffic impeded in any way. But the internet was different place back then.

What changed?

Heavy Regulation:

We all know that Heavy government regulation tries to create a level playing field but if there are problems (u-huh) try to get regulations changed. Good luck with that.

Business Control:

We all know that giving control to business works if, and only if, competition is not only allowed but fostered without monopolies. There is a long history of examples to draw on.

But how do you create a level playing field where competition can reign free? Everyone needs to be included.

Darn this Internet! OH! And don't forget that the consumer needs to informed. That's integral.

How about if we require that all corporate heads become bureaucrats for a year exchanging their jobs with bureaucrats? Right. That won't happen. How about if we ensure that all Americans have access to affordable broadband, remembering that back in the last century I paid a lot of money per month for a 56K dedicated frame relay connection. You don’t remember that? Okay. Streaming movies online was not even a suggested concept then.

By comparison, we really have it good now—an understatement.

How about if we simply paid for what we get? In other words if you want to watch movies, which happen to be a high data draw across the Internet—bringing in both video and audio signals, we pay the businesses that make those feature(s) that possible.

The concept of "free" things on the Internet was fostered way back when. I could code some application and make it free to the world hoping to entice folks to pay for future upgrades. That business model worked for a lot of people and also not for far more. But it worked because the initial outlay was just your time and the cost of a computer plus Internet connection. It allowed a lot of small businesses to become bigger businesses and thrive. It allowed competition.

If the company streaming their movie to your home is paid for a subscription, that’s great. If some businesses along the way are paid nothing for that service, there's going to be grumbling. If the businesses along the way, being paid nothing, decide to filter or throttle down that movie so that it won't play well (or at all) there's likely going to be grumbling from you. There's a lot of grumbling going on and that is what plays into the Net Neutrality issue.

What the heck are we going to do? For one thing keep grumbling but be informed. Uninformed grumblers are wasted bandwidth. And you can always keep your eye on sites such as noted at the top of the reading. Plus, if a service provider is noted to be a signal throttler or an access denier you'll have to decide whether to do business with them or not. We are all in this together.


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