OK, I’ve let the dust settle on this little Net Neutrality bill, and I guess it’s time to throw in my two Lincolns.
For those of you unfamiliar with Net Neutrality, here’s a quick synopsis:
Internet access has become a glorified duopoly. You have two choices for broadband internet access. DSL (the phone companies) and Cable (um, the cable companies) control most every entry point for American consumers.
However, in the interest of their stock holders, they need to continue to find new revenue streams in order to grow their profits. So the CEOs and lobbyists of these duopolists contacted their buddies in powerful places in order to pass some legislation that would allow them to make PLENTY more money from the “free” Internet.
You and I pay a monthly fee for access to the Internet. Though it’s not written down, we assume that we will have access to the ENTIRE internet, and not just what our ISP decides we will have access to. On the other side, the owners of websites also pay a monthly fee for their website to have access to the Internet. Fair enough. I understand that there’s a cost involved in maintaining the infrastructure, and that it costs money for customer service (ha!) when we have problems with our access. Everybody pays once. Perfect.
A Net Neutrality law protects the way things are. Now imagine a world where those sites that you most enjoy going would also have to pay for YOU to access their content. Imagine that every single site had a small subscription fee. Picture a place where ISPs can dictate which sites you can visit, and which you can’t. We are encroaching on landmark censorship, monopolistic practices, and the end of the internet as it is today: free, open communication, knowledge sharing, and innovation. All of those things that make the Internet great will be gone.
Sites like youtube.com would never have happened, because the barrier to entry on the Internet would be astronomical. Imagine if it cost you even the two cents I am offering with this article for each visitor to your blog. Or website. Would you bother publishing? Would Google, Amazon or the other web behemoths have the ability to provide the free services they provide? It would cost them an outrageous fortune, and they would have no choice but to pass the cost along to us.
This bill is opposed by Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska. This guy is definitely on top of his game. Here’s some interesting links to give you a better feel for how informed the guy is:
“The Internet is a series of tubes.”
Full audio of the “Tubes” speech
Jon Stewart on Net Neutrality and Internet Gambling Bans
Wikipedia’s Entry for “Series of Tubes”
On average, broadband access in America costs ~ $40 per month. High speed Internet access in other countries is as little as 10% of what we as Americans pay.
Do what you can to make sure that this bill passes! Contact your senators today, and make sure that this bill passes!
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