Net Neutrality – It is a phase I have heard thrown around lately, but not really thought much about it until I read a short blurb about it:
Net Neutrality is kind of what we have today for Internet users by default and current ‘information services’ regulation practices by the FCC.
Telco’s (telecommunication companies) currently give everyone similar internet connection speeds, but now the Telco’s want to earn more money by charging different rates for different speeds.
So, let’s say you are eBay.com. Right now your internet connection speed for broadband is the same speed as the speed for this blog.
What the Telco’s would like to do, is say to eBay.com and Pusz4Frog – The speed you are currently getting, will cost you $500 a month. If you don’t pay, then your speed will be throttled back so it takes people longer to access your site.
Now, between eBay and myself, who do you think has the $500 a month to keep their current internet speed?
Imagine all the extreme left wing and extreme right wing bloggers who will lose traffic and viewers due to the slow access time on their sites, while the large conglomerate news companies have good speed and keep their readers.
Public interest groups and many Internet companies say regulations are needed to prevent phone and cable operators from slowing or blocking Internet phone calls, online video and other Web services that compete with their core businesses.
These groups (and myself included) want rules to ensure that broadband companies cannot favor their own online traffic or the traffic of business partners that can pay for priority access.
Weak Politicians Acting like Prostitutes for the Telco’s
The FCC is currently deadlocked on redefine broadband as a telecommunication service subject to “common carrier” obligations which would permanently force the Telco’s to treat all traffic equally.
The current situation is that broadband is a lightly regulated “information service”, and the FCC has argued that this approach gave it ample jurisdiction to mandate net neutrality.
Unfortunately, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia recently rejected that argument when it it ruled that the FCC had overstepped its authority when it ordered Comcast to stop blocking subscribers from using an online file-sharing service called BitTorrent to swap movies and other big files.
Now everything is in limbo. House Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., had proposed “network neutrality” rules which were intended to prevent broadband providers from becoming online gatekeepers by playing favorites with traffic.
The Republicans have blocked it of course, even though this legislation would allow crazy right wing extremists and tea partiers to continue their diatribes on their blogs without a loss of viewership.
Of course, the Telco’s have paid millions of dollars to lobbyists to block any kind of Net Neutrality legislation, and of course they have contributed to many Republican candidates to help continue to block it as well.
What to do?
Currently, Henry Waxman has abandoned his legislation in the face of Republican opposition.
So, what can we do:
1. Vote for a Democrat or Independent who supports Net Neutrality
2. Write the FCC, asking that they redefine broadband as a telecommunications service subject to “common carrier” obligations to treat all traffic equally – http://www.fcc.gov/contacts.html
3. Use www.dearpolitician.org to write your politicians to have the FCC redefine broadband as a telecommunications service subject to “common carrier” obligations to treat all traffic equally
4. Save up your money. That way when the Telco’s have paid off enough politicians to vote to allow them to charge whatever they want for broadband connectivity – you will have the extra money pay for decent Internet speed.
For more information on www.dearpolitician.org:
Good Luck America.
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