Written by: TechAnon
In mid-September of 2014, numerous companies such as Netflix, Reddit, Etsy and an assortment of others participated in what is now known as an “internet slowdown day” in order to encourage “net neutrality”.
There are some who believe that certain internet providers along with our illustrious government are not treating all information equally (It’s shocking, I know) The first word that may pop into your mind is censorship. Don’t jump to any conclusions yet. It’s more like a process of slowing down the flow to or from certain sources. Let’s think of the internet like the water system in your home or apartment. There’s one main line that supplies all the water to your home (fed from other pipes on the outside). Ideally you have valves for your bathroom, kitchen, powder room and maybe even your garage if you have one. The information / water (i.e. websites, pages, games, or even the dictionary) flows through the pipes freely on a regular basis. What happens if you close the valve to your powder room half way? You’ll still get the same water there but, it may take twice as long for the toilet to shut off after reading the latest propaganda. How about a nice hot shower? That particular valve is closed ¾ of the way. IF the water is still hot by the time it actually gets to the shower, you may have already gotten tired of waiting and moved on to another bathroom…or website.
It comes down to the fear of internet providers or other agencies slowing down the flow of data to shift your focus and possibly pad their pockets. Admit it, nowadays the only thing more frustrating than a 404 error for most people is that little ring of death that appears when a page is trying to download…and it won’t go away. The internet has become a necessity and the realization of this has many up in arms. This is where net neutrality is supposed to sweep in and help. Even President Obama is getting in on the opinions by his released statement:
“So the time has come for the FCC to recognize that broadband service is of the same importance and must carry the same obligations as so many of the other vital services do. To do that, I believe the FCC should reclassify consumer broadband service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act — while at the same time forbearing from rate regulation and other provisions less relevant to broadband services”.*
Let’s say that the idea becomes reality. How does the FCC monitor and regulate it for one? More importantly, where does the money come from? If it should come to pass that the internet is deemed a utility then what? Even though the FCC is an “independent agency” you can bet your undies we the people are gonna foot the bill. There will be Licenses for use, licenses for higher powered machines, usage identification just for a start. It’s happened before in a not so far off America. Long before cell phones and smart phones the 1960’s brought about a revolution of affordable, short distance personal radios that used public frequencies. They were not nearly as strong as police and emergency radios but worked well generally. They were given the name Citizen’s Band Radio or CB’s as we still call them. Popularity skyrocketed as people deemed them a vital piece of equipment in many places. Even though these radios were never actually defined as a utility, the government and the FCC stepped in because public frequencies were being used and no one in the government was benefitting from it. License requirements, “call sign” applications and power restrictions seemed to sprout overnight…and the clams came rolling in. Fast forward to 2014 and these radios are still being used. What’s the difference 50 years later? Scientific advancements in communications diminished the user base by 95% and with that most of those money grabbing opportunities and rules disappeared.
Knowing this brief period of capitalistic history along with things that happen within the now unregulated utilities… is net neutrality an honest concern for the reasons thrown out there or is it just a rough path for the big corporations to expand into a full blown road of guaranteed cash?
What do YOU think?