The big news of the day in political circles is that the FCC voted to reclassify Internet providers as Title II, which protects Net Neutrality. Inevitably the Republicans are up in arms about the vote using such phrases as “Obamacare for the Internet” and “Net Neutrality will fundamentally change the Internet”.
Let’s address the second statement; what this vote in favor of Net Neutrality does is actually maintain the status quo, the Internet was always meant to be open and free without tiered access. What reclassification to Title II does is stop ISP’s, cable companies such as Comcast, Verizon etc from throttling websites of their choosing, services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video and Youtube. Back in February 2014, Netflix paid Comcast to allow traffic from it’s service to run at unrestricted speed through it’s network after Comcast severely throttled data coming from the streaming service. Cable providers are taking money from it’s customers for 25, 50, 100Mbps connections to the Internet, then slowing down services like Netflix, which let’s face it, we don’t need 100Mbit Internet to check our Email and view web pages.
This is so much misinformation being circulated by the right wing media and politicians who’s interests do not match the Net Neutrality agenda. Reading comments on the Internet today proves to me how little people know about Net Neutrality, many commenting down party lines. And dare I say it, these are the same people that watch Fox News believing every piece of right wing propaganda the Rupert Murdock owned network spouts. Stop believing Fox News and do your own research, you may change your view.
Allegedly President Barack Obama colluded with FCC chairman Tom Wheeler and the other democrats on the FCC board to pass the bill in some sort of plot for him to take over the Internet. I swear that if Obama gave a speech supported breathing, all the republicans would die because they refused to breath!
No doubt that there will be legal challenges to this ruling which will stop the new rules coming into force, possibly indefinitely, allowing the big cable companies to run rough-shot over it’s customers during the legal wranglings. The people of the Internet have won this battle, but the war is far from over.
If the FCC vote is overturned, cable companies will be able to create “fast lanes”, which Internet streaming services will have to stump up millions to give their customers the optimum experience. The services that refuse to pay the high-speed access fee will be put in the “slow lane” and this is despite the customer paying $$$ for fast Internet connectivity. And inevitably, streaming service prices will rise to compensate for the additional cost of getting their content to the end user, ultimately the customer is being screwed.
The biggest takeaway should the FCC decision be reversed is that “free speech” will be dead as cable companies will be able to slow down and/or block content they don’t want you to see. China gets a lot of flack from the western World for it’s policies on censorship, yet the USA is heading in the same direction.
I’ll leave you with this video from John Oliver, the truth about Net Neutrality with a comic slant!
Addendum [Feb, 28 2015, 15:55]: Over the last two days I have been hearing how this decision to support Net Neutrality is stifling the free market and that “resorting to government means stifling competition and promoting favoritism”. For those who believe that line, how can we have a free market when big cable companies want to slow down third party streaming traffic while allowing their own streaming services to run at full speed, surely that in itself is stifling competition? If cable companies played fair and adhered to the spirit of the Internet, there would be no need for the FCC to step in to ensure neutrality, Comcast, Time Warner & Verizon don’t own the Internet, they just own the wires.
To address the people that say “if you don’t like your service, change it”; for many, to change service providers like for like, e.g. 100Mbit to 100Mbit, we would have to move to another state as big cable are very careful to divide up territories so they don’t compete with each other. So much so that in some cases, one side of the street is Comcast while the other side of the street is Time Warner. Not only that, big cable are attempting to buy favor with state politicians to block municipal fiber networks like Google Fiber.
Furthermore, our politicians should not be taking money from the interests they are supposed to be regulating, that’s a massive conflict of interest, the level of corruption in Washington is truly astonishing.