Top Of My Head

Thoughts on everything from Politics to Video Games

Category: Net Neutrality

FCC and Net Neutrality

I sent the following to the FCC about Net Neutrality.  I encourage everyone to pass this around and encourage letters to the FCC to keep Net Neutrality going. Click here to contact the FCC.

Protecting the neutrality of the Internet is the biggest First Amendment issue facing us today. I am a blogger. Without Net Neutrality, Internet providers can make it difficult to find my site. They can charge me extra to guarantee a lane from a reader’s home into my site. I pay an Internet fee to my broadband provider. I pay another fee to have my site hosted. Without Net Neutrality, Comcast, Time Warner, Verizon could all demand that I pay them a fee to allow traffic through. This will end the ability for new ideas to be fostered. A large company could essentially pay to kill a news story, simply by out paying for traffic.

Further, from a consumer standpoint, killing Net Neutrality means that small Mom and Pop shops will not be able to compete with larger, well funded stores. Traffic can be slowed, delayed or even re-routed entirely because a small consumer store will not be able to pay extra fees. This kills competition and innovation.

Finally, Internet access is very much like phone access. By disabling Net Neutrality, you are allowing companies to decide where and who their customers see and talk to. Imagine if this was the phone company. AT&T cannot prevent their customer from calling a Verizon customer. In reverse, Verizon cannot block calls to their customers from AT&T customers. Without Net Neutrality, that’s exactly what these companies can and will do. They already skirt the issue by making their customers pay more for faster service – imagine what they will do when they can become the traffic cops of data and information.



Net Neutrality Challenged

According to a story on Politico, Verizon is going to court to challenge the FCC’s ruling on Net Neutrality.  They want “to stop the agency from requiring Internet companies to treat all Web traffic equally.”

Of course these companies want to limit who can limit who accesses their networks – they will make more money if they charge website owners for the ability to receive traffic from their websites.  It is an added revenue stream.  I understand the drive for profit.  However; it is something the government should prevent.

Stopping the traffic and controlling the traffic flow on the Internet Superhighway is counter-productive and bad for America.  Think of it this way…Let’s say you decide to drive from Kenosha down to Mundelein, IL.  You get on the toll road and you pay your toll for the privileged of using the road.  This is like you paying for your Internet access.  Now, you have to stop for gas and you see a Shell station, except you’re driving on a road controlled by Verizon and Shell hasn’t paid Verizon any extra money, therefore; Verizon isn’t going to allow you off the highway to enter the Shell station.  It doesn’t matter that Shell pays for their location (their website hosting package); it doesn’t matter that Shell pays Comcast for their own Internet access.  You are a Verizon customer and they will not let you stop at Shell, because they want Shell to pay them.

These extra charges that Verizon is suing in order to propose – and, yes, I realize that their claim is that the FCC doesn’t have the authority to “regulate broadband networks”, however; once the regulation to treat all traffic equally is lifted, watch the charging begin – will harm small businesses, as well as blogs – and, yes, even mine.

Amazingly, the Verizon lawyer said the following in a statment: “We believe this assertion of authority goes well beyond any authority provided by Congress, and creates uncertainty for the communications industry, innovators, investors and consumers.”  I laugh at the idea that the FCC regulation creates uncertainty.  Not knowing about how a ruling on this will affect non-Internet providers will cause more uncertainty.

The problem is that they could actually win they’re court case.  Right now, our courts are placing companies on the same level as people.  It is not a far stretch to believe that they will overturn the FCC’s regulation.

Congress needs to step up to the plate and swing for a home run.  Keeping the playing field equal on the Internet is essential to our freedoms.  If you don’t believe me, take a good look at China – where people can’t access Google.  The difference is that it won’t be our government that controls us – it will be the companies.

Net Neutrality

I know that I shouldn’t be surprised every time someone supports a group, candidate or even an idea that  goes against their own best interest.  Tea Party supporters do this all the time.  Followers of Saint Palin do it too and the people who watch Glenn Beck do not have a real grasp of the issues.  The people who are going to vote for Ron Johnson come to mind as well.

Case in point, Net Neutrality.  To Beck, Net Neutrality is Obama’s plan to put our country on the path of socialism.  To him, this is an Obama backed plan.  Unfortunately, the followers of Beck believe that Beck can make no mistakes.  The problem is that – when it comes to Net Neutrality – Glenn Beck doesn’t know his arse from a hole in the ground.

Net Neutrality didn’t rise up after Obama was in office.  The idea of keeping the access to information on the Internet “free” has been around since the late 1990’s.  But, if you’re on the right, you wouldn’t know that. The ring wing pundits don’t admit that. They are so against anything that might be supported by this administration, they’ve lost sight of the correct side of an issue.

To put it simply, “Net neutrality is this: If I pay to connect to the Net with a certain quality of service, and you pay to connect with that or greater quality of service, then we can communicate at that level.” (Quoted from Tim Berners-Lee on his blog. Don’t know who Tim Berners-Lee is Google him.)

The problem is that companies – such as Verizon and AT&T – are shoving lobbying dollars to Congress to allow them to determine what content YOU can see via their networks.  If you want to view a website that your ISP doesn’t want to allow on their network, they can do that if we DON’T have Net Neutrality.  I can’t stress this enough.  It is imperative that we keep the Internet free flowing and allow the free flow of information.  Content providers pay for their access – you pay for your access – I pay for mine.  We shouldn’t have to be prevented from seeing another’s website because our ISP doesn’t have an agreement with them or they want to charge them money above and beyond what they’ve paid for their hosting.


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