Net Neutrality Under Attack

hedgeNet Neutrality Under Attack

I guess it is the nature of the beast. Whenever a profit can be made by converting a public asset into a private one, the knives are out. The reasons for net neutrality are so obvious and so important, it should not be necessary for me to repeat them here. The idea of favoring one user over another has one major advantage over net neutrality, the enormous profits possible on services already provided.

James Pilant

Net neutrality: What is it, and why is the U.S. about to lose it? | Al Jazeera America

For decades, Americans have taken for granted that every website, service and app is treated equally by their Internet service providers. This principle, dubbed Net neutrality, is what allows startups and large corporations to compete on a level playing field, ensuring that Internet providers can’t pick winners and losers by blocking websites or having some load faster than others.

But Internet advocates warn that under a new set of rules scheduled to be introduced by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Thursday, this guarantee will be effectively gone, allowing Internet service providers to give prioritized access to websites that pay a premium — and slower service to everyone else.

The FCC proposal would be welcome news for broadband Internet providers like Verizon, Comcast and Time Warner Cable, some of which have already begun experimenting with charging online services for fast-lane access to their customers. FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has tried to reassure critics that these arrangements would be strictly regulated on a case-by-case basis. But a growing coalition of Net neutrality advocates, tech companies, investors and members of Congress have slammed the anticipated proposal, calling it “a threat to the Internet” as a domain for free speech and commerce.

“It’s going to be ruinous for innovation online,” said April Glaser, an activist with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “It directs people away from newer, innovative services that might not be able to afford that price tier.”

via Net neutrality: What is it, and why is the U.S. about to lose it? | Al Jazeera America.

From Around the Web.

From the web site, Andelino’s Weblog.

What could that mean for me, in English, please?

First off, the web could get more expensive. The impact on the average Internet user will likely not be felt right away. But over time, websites would probably pass on to consumers the costs of paying for high-speed access, according to Harold Feld, a senior vice president at the consumer group Public Knowledge.

In addition, it could become difficult to view certain websites owned by companies that can’t afford to pay for access to an Internet fast lane, Feld said.

On top of Internet users potentially paying more, they would also be more confused, Feld said. Under the proposed rules, people would need to make sense of a fragmented Internet landscape where the time it takes to load an online video would depend on whether that website paid extra to their Internet provider. Consumers may start choosing their Internet providers based on which websites they like to visit.

Feld compared the situation to the exclusive deals that AT&T and Apple once made that only allowed AT&T subscribers to purchase the iPhone.

This sounds pretty frustrating. It would be. Under the FCC’s proposed rules, the quality of online streaming services like Netflix or HBO Go would depend on whether those services are paying your Internet provider or not, Feld said.

“It will become more fragmented and more frustrating,” he added.

The proposed rules could affect not just entertainment, but also education. If schools use an online curriculum made by a company that cut a deal with Verizon, students who subscribe to Verizon’s Internet service at home would have an advantage over other students who subscribe to another provider, Feld said.

2 thoughts on “Net Neutrality Under Attack

  1. I indeed share the concerns expressed here about proposed rules that would undermine if not sink “net neutrality.” Would just like to add the following: Even without these rule changes, big, powerful companies, have huge advantages over small businesses and the “little guy” on the Net. Unless you have the money to invest in a cadre of consultants who are privy to (or can decipher) google ranking criteria, and know how to work them, you have very little chance.


    1. Quite true. But you fight and I fight for net neutrality. We may lose and the odds are against us. But all fights aren’t about winning and often the discarded battle cries of some defeated movement resonate again when their time comes again. jp


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