Thursday the FCC ruled in favor of Net Neutrality. It was a rare victory for the little people in a country that has long ago become a plutocracy. But since republicans in congress (aka corporate puppets for the rich) and ISP providers are throwing a tantrum, this fight is far from over. Unfortunately, many out there don’t understand the argument (not surprising, given all the miss-information out there) or don’t think it affects them. It does affect you, and everyone should be aware of what’s going on.
This is what your your internet service provider (ISP) wants to happen: Imagine you log onto a website. Only instead of that website showing up on your screen within a fraction of a second as it “hopefully” does now, you see an hourglass in the window, or perhaps the site trawling down your screen, and eighth of an inc at at time. Three or 4 minutes later the page has finally loaded. So now you click on a link. The waiting begins again.
How long are you going to put up with that? Most people wouldn’t even stick around 20 seconds before clicking back out of the page. This means no traffic to that website. ISPs want to slow down the interned for everyone who doesn’t pay a hefty fee for speedier traffic. Good for them, and even good for big companies who can then out-pay their competition, but horrible for everyone else.
ISPs already charge their customers for the speed of their internet access (which they often fail to deliver). Now the greedy little B******* want a system where they can double charge for the same product - once on the customer end, and once on the provider end. Worse yet, what they want would in effect be a form of censorship. Overnight the US internet would become as constrained as China’s, possibly even more so. Because the web would slow to a crawl for everyone who couldn’t afford to pay the ISP mafia, it puts big corporations in charge of what you see. In the process it gives ISPs an enormous amount of power. They become the internet gate keepers who get to decide who wins and who looses on the internet. There is a reason company’s want this so badly. It crowns them king!
What would this mean for the internet? It would turn it into TV: a game that only the rich can afford to dabble in. Since dissenting views always come from the little guy, it would mean no more dissenting views. Small sites like ours, which offer you many free resources that others make you pay for might cease to exist, because we couldn’t afford the entry fees. It would mean no more future face books, because small start-ups and web-tinkerers would loose the ability to throw something together and then put it out there for the world to use. No more free downloads because it would cost too much to offer them. In other words, it’s the death of everything internet stands for.
The FCC ruled to prohibit this, this keeping the internet open for everyone. Needless to say, ISP’s are throwing a tantrum. Companies like AT&T (which just reciently settled a law suit after being caught stealing from millions of customers by cramming their phone bills with bogus charges they had never requested) will tell you that the FCC’s ruling is bad. Don’t believe their hype. New neutrality is not just a good thing, it’s a cornerstone of freedom in a digital age.