Net Neutrality

There’s an issue lurking out there, and chances are, if you’re reading this weblog, you could be affected. Blaine Zuver is the City Captain for Metroblogging Miami, and he’s got an excellent post about Net Neutrality and what’s at stake. Everywhere I go, I see ads by the cable companies conveniently placed on their own network about how this is about content providers paying for appropriate bandwidth, that’s a load of bull, pure and simple.

Content providers pay for their internet access the same as you pay for your home access, except they tend to pay a lot more for the big pipes that they need to send large amounts of data through. Most of these groups would raise their rates, which would seem like the obvious solution, except that these large companies would then seek other providers of fast internet access and could potentially lose their contract. So, instead, they’re seeking to double bill content providers. This is a load of crap. It’s like the power company charging you not just for the power that they use, but also for the convenience of having it most of the time, too. This is a load of crap.

As the internet is about freely available speech, I don’t want to have to pay the monopolies just so I can get my site on the “approved list” for available bandwidth. If Cox is blocking Craigslist because they have their own ad service, how long is it going to be before your site is replaced by one that your ISP prefers? Giving the Telcos the power to decide what is important and when is unacceptable to a free-thinking society. Tell your Senator “No!”

The bill comes before a vote in the Commerce Committee on Tuesday, and it needs to pass. Contact any of the members of the commerce committee, but in specific, Sen. George Allen is on that list and he’s up for re-election this Fall. Drop him a note and tell him to vote FOR the Net Neutrality Bill on Tuesday.

11 Comments so far

  1. HandsOff234 (unregistered) on June 16th, 2006 @ 11:44 am

    Tom, there’s a lot wrong here.

    For one, the Cox/Craigslist issue is a software bug, not an attempt to block access. And the change needs to happen on Craigslist’s side — it’s their issue.

    And they’re not trying to “double-bill” anyone, unless you count charging for a special upgrade as unthinkable. It’s a new service — it costs extra.

    And no one will be blocking any content. There was fears about this with AOL-Time Warner in the 90s, and that never happened. It’s bad business. What’s more, the FCC has already asserted its right to intervene if content is blocked or degraded. So new laws are

    I work with Hands Off The Internet, you should check out our site when you get a chance. We knock down a lot of these myths.

  2. Tom Bridge (unregistered) on June 16th, 2006 @ 12:00 pm

    Yeah, I’m not sure who exactly is “served” by this new “service” but I can tell you it sounds like paying protection money to me.

  3. Stacey (unregistered) on June 16th, 2006 @ 1:58 pm

    I wish people could have been at the AFF event I posted about yesterday – it was incredible to hear both sides go about this. The pro-NN/pro-regulation side talking about “what ifs,” “maybes,” and “if x happened, then y, then z, then crazy ass crap hit the fan, and then I guessed at what x really was… then they would block my content.” Almost ANYone can block content now – it doesn’t happen b/c money is made by having more subscribers.

    There is also a massive property rights issue here that most – although a great speaker from last night spoke on it – are ignoring.

  4. Paulo (unregistered) on June 16th, 2006 @ 1:59 pm

    Big Telecom claims they’ll never block content, but somehow I can’t see them resisting the lure of charging extra for “premium universal” access, just like how United is now charging more for aisle seats. (image)

    Cox says the Cox/Craigslist issue is a Craigslist-side problem, and yet Craigslist says they’re fine and that it’s because Cox’s security software, Authentium, refuses to remove them from a blacklist.

    Watch out for astroturf!

  5. Kristina (unregistered) on June 16th, 2006 @ 2:52 pm

    Consumers heard the same boy-crying-wolf tales in the early 1990s when various telecommunication products, such as wireless service, were being deregulated. Contrary to doomsday scenarios perpetrated at the time, wireless has demonstrated that less regulation produces more competition, lower prices, and more consumer benefits. The concept of “less is more” should apply to the growth of the Internet as well.

    Following the tendencies outlined by the “if it moves, tax it; if it keeps moving, regulate it; if it stops moving, subsidize it” line, we’ve seen big government hatch new plots year after year to tax and regulate the Internet. Since the cheerleaders of overbearing government mandates have been temporarily derailed in their efforts to tax the Internet, they are moving onto the next big-government step of regulatory action. And net neutrality is one of their most coordinated thrusts to date.

    True advocates for a dynamic Internet need to neutralize the market-meddling tendencies of Congress and repudiate the false claims by pro-regulators. Keeping the Internet free from net neutrality restrictions will keep American on track in the worldwide race to deliver exciting new Internet services.

  6. Paulo (unregistered) on June 16th, 2006 @ 3:21 pm
  7. Blaine Zuver (unregistered) on June 16th, 2006 @ 6:02 pm

    I must say ” Hands Off ” has some brilliant spin – anyone with an IQ under 100 might actually beleive it. Then again- that’s why the Master Spinner was hired by the big telecoms to head it up. Please contact me at my email “Hands Off.”

  8. Tiff (unregistered) on June 16th, 2006 @ 8:34 pm

    Network owners are essentially monopolies- there’s only one cable company and one phone company who own the broadband pipes in any given area. Let me clarify for anyone sticking their fingers in their ears at this point: THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS BROADBAND COMPETITION IN THE MARKETPLACE. In my area, the choices are Comcast, Verizon, or someone who leases THEIR service from Verizon. I’ll say it again: CHOICE AMONG BROADBAND SERVICES IS A BIG FAT LIE. The marketplace can’t regulate the behavior of monopolies. That’s why they’re called “monopolies.”

  9. Patty (unregistered) on June 16th, 2006 @ 11:06 pm

    Nice, Paulo – because everyone that has a Sourcewatch page is up to something. Newsflash: Any group, person, entity that’s ever had any participation on ANYTHING that’s right-of-center is on Sourcewatch. AND?!?! Who cares… so taken by liberal propaganda.

    Still no one on property rights, innovation, investment in networks, build out… if you TRULY believe in free markets, you don’t believe the have the ABILITY to fail. The thing that you PREFER might fail – but if the market is a market, it doesn’t fail by definition.

    Let me go see if anyone named Paulo is on Sourcewatch…

  10. Paulo (unregistered) on June 17th, 2006 @ 8:47 am

    Thanks, Patty, that was wonderfully incoherent. If I’m “so taken by liberal propaganda,” it could be argued just as well that you eager young libertarians are taken by conservative propaganda — but I’m a social conservative myself, so there are a few problems with using that word. More accurately, I suppose it’s best called Big Telecom propaganda. Especially the part about net neutrality advocates thinking that this bit of regulation is a sequel to attempting to tax the internet. Pure straw man, dead wrong.

    But to facetiously reapply an old piece of legalist doggerel, if Big Telecom doesn’t plan to use their unregulated might to cut down on the net’s natural state of anarchy, why are they so worried, then? It’s like nonsmokers complaining about smoking laws. (You Altria-funded NTU people will love that analogy!) Since us net neutrality people are just boys crying wolf, and the telcos won’t actually block Craigslist or slow down Google or charge net users extra for money made online, then they won’t mind a bit of enforcement of the current status quo.

    (Or are they just worried about Google snatching up all that dark fiber and suddenly starting to look like, *gasp* competition?)

  11. Krempasky (unregistered) on June 17th, 2006 @ 1:51 pm

    I still think it’s a false choice. Down with restrictive franchise agreements! It’s the only way any consumers are going to get the kind of choice Tiff is talking about.

    (take me for instance – I blew off my cable co. because Verizon was able to offer me Fios.)

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