Tuesday, 21 January 2014 01:40

So, how 'bout that net neutrality?

net neutrality beerIf I walked into the local pub in the city where I live, and sat down at the bar, I'm wondering about the blank stares I would get if I asked the guy sitting next to me, "So, how about that net neutrality thing?"

Since the topic is in the news again, I'm reposting an updated version of an article originally written in 2006:

I'm positive the entire bar would go silent, and barring the presence of one of the members of the local computer users group, nobody would say anything. It would be crickets.

It wouldn't hit them until they want to play Neopets, or visit iTunes, or Nascar. If you're reading this, it will affect you. It affects the poor, it affects every user of the internet regardless of class – although some may be able to pay for better access to what our taxes have subsidized – much like access to a professional sports stadium.

As proposed, the Telecommunications Act would have a negative effect on my business. Alex Jucabenta states on Crain's Cleveland Business:

"Congress has the power to reshape the Internet as we know it and the results of which may not be to the benefit of the consumer. As it now stands, most users connect to the Internet via some sort of wire connected to an Internet service provider. Thanks to the Federal Communications Commission, regulations that required telecom companies to provide open access to the Internet were removed last year."

(Of course, many people no longer connect via wires... the computer I'm typing on is wirelessly connected to a router, which is wired into the internet.)

Will enough of us step up to prevent the Internet from being censored by large telecos and cable companies and those willing to prevent the free and unfettered exchange of information and innovation? Will enough of us contact Congress to encourage our representatives to intercade with the FCC?

The proposed restriction of access and favoritism will have cascading economic effects. Enacting this legislation will create an uneven playing field for thousands of businesses both in the US, (and of equal importance) and in the global economy.

While referred to as "net neutrality," this amounts to and internet censorship and discrimination in many ways by both public and private concerns.

Close to 80% of businesses in the US are small businesses. The growth and success of many of these businesses are related to their unencumbered use of the internet for which they already pay fees to these telecom and cable companies.

There seems to still be time to amend the Telecommunications Act in the Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2006 (S. 2917).

You or I cannot compete with the lobbyists who are plying Congress with money and favors in order to gain an unfair competitive advantage. The Internet was designed to be a free and open medium where this blog can compete with blogs that have other meaningful content.

The Internet is where US citizens practice freedom of speech daily. Are we willing to allow Congress to suppress that freedom? I support Net Neutrality, please join me if you haven't already.

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