The Internet Slowdown   Leave a comment

Net Neutrality

Okay, so, September 10th is going to be an event called the Internet Slowdown.  You can learn more about the event here, and I recommend that you do so.  It’s a tricky issue; we tend to look at it in terms of “Net Neutrality good, all opposition EVIL!”, and that’s not quite the case.  However, between all the different options available at the moment, I’m still in the camp that supports the Net Neutrality movement.  We’re sitting at a technological and cultural crossroads of a sort that doesn’t happen very often.  Generally, big businesses have a knack for figuring out the implications of technologies before the customers so that they can shape the future of the industry before the customers have much of a say so.  In this case, however, the Internet as a culture has the advantage, and at the time of this writing over a million dollars are being spent daily by companies like Comcast, Time Warner, AT&T and Verizon to lobby the FCC to get their advantage back.  We can’t let that happen.

The best comparison I’ve heard of this sort of situation is the one that puts Netflix in the role of a delivery truck driver.  Netflix delivers its movies to its customers for the pre-agreed price.  However, the company that owns the road sees the truck driver’s cargo and who it’s for and tells Netflix to pay them more money, or else they’ll lower the road’s speed limit and make it impossible for the customer to get the video as soon as they want it.  Effectively, Internet providers are lobbying for the ability to make it legal for them to run protection rackets on the Internet content providers.

There’s a lot of other issues involved, admittedly.  For instance, what happens if seven trucks want to drive down the road at once?  That sort of problem is why I recommend that you read up on Net Neutrality to make sure it’s the kind of thing that you support.  However, I urge you to support the movement.  I might not always support it myself, but for this week I certainly will.  

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Posted September 9, 2014 by John Little in blogging, Net Culture

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