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Net Neutrality – Here We Go Again

Comcast, Verizon, and all their ilk have slithered out of their offices to appeal to the people that understand the Internet least – the Republicans and GOP – in an effort to kill the Internet.

You like the Internet, right? We all do. It’s a life-changing technology that literally changes everything, from distribution models to research to access of information. It’s moving society forward and making it better, increasing our understanding of the world around us on every possible level.

One of the things that makes the Internet such a potent tool and means of distribution is that it is, at present, neutral. This means that carriers are legally required to give everyone the same degree of service. This is what allows companies like Amazon and YouTube and Wikipedia to exist, what allows Netflix and even Google to exist.

As it stands right now, carriers are required to give the same degree of access to those sites as they are to any other site. We call this net neutrality. This means that the carriers have to be neutral in regards to speed and access, and aren’t allowed to censor to restrict service.

This drives them insane.

See, the carriers are corporate entities, and corporate morality is based around the idea of short-term acquisition of wealth, regardless of who gets hurt in the process or what sort of long-term damage is done. It is well within the confines of carrier technology to limit, slow down, or otherwise impede the flow of information in any way that they see fit.

The carriers are trying to get the Republicans and GOP to end net neutrality, which would allow them to offer different packages of internet speed and access. If you want anything more than dial-up speed on your personal end or from the services you use, well, you’d have to pay more.

If this happens, it would allow the carriers to smother and destroy any service or site they feel like, at any time.

Just ask Comcast customers about their access to Netflix over the spring and summer. Obama put a former carrier lobbyist in charge of government policies regarding the Internet, and his recommendation was to end net neutrality.

The result was Comcast slowing access speeds to Netflix, and blackmailing Netflix into paying them more money if they, you know, planned to stay in business. Netflix customers were unable to make use of the service they were paying for and complained to Netflix over something Comcast was at fault for.

When Netflix paid the ransom fee, Comcast tried to do it again. This time, however, Netflix informed the people that were unable to use their service who was actually at fault. Verizon asked them not to do this. Service was restored.

Comcast never paid Netflix the money back, even though what they did was questionably legal at best.

This is what the carriers want to do to everyone, forever. This is what they mean when they say that they want to end net neutrality. When Republicans talk about deregulating the Internet, what they mean is they want to kill it because they don’t understand it.

News media – no less a source than the Wall Street Journal, in fact! – is misrepresenting the facts or blatantly presenting a lie as truth when they say that deregulating the Internet is the way to save it, and that net neutrality stifles innovation.

Net NeutralityThe quote to the right of this paragraph makes it sound like the Republicans are trying to preserve the Internet, doesn’t it? You’ll hear similar quotes to that one on every strata of popular news media, from CNN to MSNBC, and especially from satire news programming like Fox News.

By deregulation, however, they mean removing net neutrality and blocking Internet from being considered a utility, which would kill it by smothering anyone’s ability to use it unless they could pay for it, as seen above.

So, let us be clear: net neutrality is what allows Internet to innovate and thrive.

The best way to protect the Internet would be to label the Internet as a utility, like phone lines or cable or electricity. The carriers of telephone signals or television programming or the power to your home cannot pick and choose who they give service to, nor the quality of that service. It was decided that this was the best possible plan for these essential services.

Internet is essential in the modern world. It handles everything from directions to weather to shopping to news. It is allowing a greater degree of social information and reform than any other tool in history, and is changing the way that view our world and one another.

Calling it anything less than essential is sheer arrogance on the part of those who worship at the alter of scarcity economics and see no way to live besides at the expense of others.

Do not let this happen. Americans, you need to call your representatives, and you must – must – remove the carriers and all their ilk’s ability to influence law makers.

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