I very rarely ask anything of my readers, but the time has come to call for anyone with a vested interest in protecting the neutrality of the internet to take a stand.
Before I go further I need to clarify what I mean by “internet neutrality,” or “net neutrality.” The idea behind internet neutrality is that every consumer (you) and every service provider (google, amazon, yahoo, etc.) receives the same non-deferential treatment on the internet superhighway from the telcoms (internet service providers: AT&T, Verizon, Time Warner etc.). This means that no service provider will provide preferential treatment to partners or affiliates while providing competitors with substandard service.
Think about this for a moment: You subscribe to ABC internet services and are guaranteed a 5mbps transfer rate. Unfortunately, ABC competes with DEF Corporation, which owns the online store Buy-Me-Toys, from which you love to shop. In order to dissuade you from shopping with their competitor your service provider, ABC internet, only allows access to Buy-Me-Toys through 1mbps transfer lines. You’ll eventually get sick of the slow speeds and unreliable connection when you visit Buy-Me-Toys and will most likely stop buying from them. Hence, ABC internet services effectively killed a sale by offering crappy service to their competitor.
Net neutrality protects against nonsense like this; in the end this predatory mind-set only stifles innovation, because only the companies with deep pockets possess the ability to guarantee themselves lines fast enough to remain competitive. The only entities that benefit from preferential treatment and tiered access are wealthy companies and the telcoms.
Last week in the republican controlled House of Representitives the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee rejected a bill that would have guaranted net neturality. They virtually opened the door to teired access of the internet, much to the happy chagrin of AT&T and Verizon communicaitions who have spent $230.9 million on politicians from 1998 until the present.
If this bill passes the Senate and is then signed by the President it will eventually kill the internet as we know it. This is not an exaggeration. If AT&T, Verizon, Time Warner, and Comcast are allowed to prioritze traffic and offer preferential treatment to the highest bidder then the internet will no longer be an open forum.
Please read more about this and get involved. I know it’s a complcated subject that sounds very boring, but you mustn’t let that stop you from learning more about it. The coorporations are counting on the fact that the average citizen, and sadly the average politicain, revels in their ignorance.
Here’s an article that goes into a little more detail about net neutrality and the ongoing political battle concerning it.
Here’s a web page where you can fill out a form letter which will be electronically sent to your House representitives and your Senators.
Get involved. If you don’t we could very well lose all of this.