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Net Neutrality

There’s quite a lot of confusion over the issues of “Net Neutrality” versus “Hands Off The Internet” on the talk shows, news blogs, and a very confused mainstream media. Part of the problem is that both camps have chosen extremely poor names for their own causes.

In case anyone is wondering I am wholeheartedly endorsing the “Net Neutrality” side of the argument, and here is exactly why:

1) when I first heard about the cable and telephone industry attempts to lobby for additional fees that they’d charge content and web service providers, I wondered “Why?” because Google, Amazon, AOL, and CNN already pay for all the bytes they deliver with very high bandwidth consumption rated fees. As more and more consumers stream video from YouTube or CNN – their fees go up already.

2) I have ZERO sympathy for the cable and telecom industry’s cries that rolling out broadband to every American home is expensive. We taxpayers have already unwillingly paid them huge subsidies and tax credits to roll broadband out to every home in America, at least twice (remember the Tauzin-Dingell bill anyone? What about the 1996 Telecommunications Act before that?). Where has all that money gone? They certainly did not use it for it’s intended purpose (roughly 25% of American homes do not have and can not get broadband at all). While 25% of us have no broadband choice at all, another 25% have only one choice (an effective monopoly situation, and I am in this group), and because there is no competition for our last mile connectivity problem, our rates are extortionate and irresponsibly high. So high, that broadband adoption for this group is very low because of cost issues. All the money that the telecom industry has spent on improvements (and it has not been that much) has been focused on crushing the competition and lobbying congress for yet another handout. I am sick of corporate handouts and I want the Telcos and Cable operators to be forced to repay the money already given them and to be forced to fund the start up costs of their own competitors just like was done to AT&T when that monopoly had to be broken up.

3) I do not trust Comcast, nor Verizon, nor SBC, nor TimeWarnerCable, nor Cox to fairly and reasonably manage variable bandwidth pipes to the content production sites. None of these companies is nimble enough to keep up with the rate of change on the internet. Many of them have competing vested interests in making it easier for you to see their content or that of their advertising partners and not the content you really want to see.

4) There cannot be real neutrality until there is real competition, right through to the home. Until then regulation is not only necessary, but very useful and very fair. It makes this whole public discussion possible.

5) Without Net Neutrality, innovation will be stifled. There are people who just do things. Content creation because they love it. It is an art. Sometimes this art becomes commercialized, that is fine. Sometimes commercial production houses actually create art, that too is fine. A neutral playing field allowing users to view whatever they like means there are plenty of room, and rewards, for both. A network where you need ABC’s network approval before your show can air is stifling to artists – some thrive with the guidance they’ll get from ABC’s professional staff. Others cannot produce at all in that environment. They make and – and I value their content as much if not more than that coming out of the big commercial houses right now. TikiBarTV is the funniest thing on the web now, can you imagine it being aired on Bravo? Probably not.

6) Without Net Neutrality Democracy (big D) is stifled. It is only because ordinary people like you and me can easily create blogs and podcasts and vlogs and content that would slip through the mainstream media filters, or get censored out. This post would never make it in the New York Times. Yet this is an important issue that needs to be discussed. We need Net Neutrality to enable the bloggers of the world to write the news, especially since the corporate owned right-wing pandering mainstream media no longer actually does any investigative reporting anymore.

So my words here have probably converted no one, nor even convinced you to do some quick research and then contact your representatives in office about this issue. So please look at the following cartoons and links and let them convince you.

Thanks for lending me your attention for this long….

Fun stuff:
User Friendly Carton (May 21)
Ask A Ninja’s Net Neutrality Episode
User Friendly Carton (May 14)

Information about Saving the Internet:

Propaganda from the Telephone and Cable Lobby:

Effective Rebuttal:

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