Stopping the Racket

The concept of Net Neutrality has really started to heat up recently. The geeks who understand the internet have been pushing for it for years, but it fell on the deaf ears for the past eight years. Now, with a new president, the FCC is finally taking steps to make it a reality. Yet low and behold, some in congress are now going to try and stop it.

So let’s talk about what Net Neutrality really means. Imagine if your electric company got in to the appliance business and the next day your refrigerator quits running. You take a look and nothing appears wrong. Being the wise troubleshooter, you remember to test step #1: is it plugged in. It is plugged in but you figure out it is not getting any juice from the outlet.

You check the breakers; they’re all fine. By this point, you’re pretty irate so you call the electric company. The third-world tech support person tells you they are sorry to hear about your problem, but there is just too much demand for electricity. You see, too many people are plugging in those amperage-hogging power tools, so they have to prioritize the allocation. If you want to ensure your beer stays cold, you either need to buy one of their refrigerators or pay a bit extra a month for the additional guarantee on quality of service.

This is effectively what the large ISPs want to do with your internet connectivity. An educated person would call this extortion, but to them it is colloquially referred to as “an additional revenue stream”. If two large Italian gentlemen in thousand dollar suits paid you a visit and said “nice computer you have there, it would be a shame if you couldn’t get electricity for it”, someone would go to jail. Yet when large publicly traded companies do the same thing, we’re supposed to call it the “free market at work.”

There are only two reasons to oppose Net Neutrality: ignorance or corruption. I’m attempting to address the first problem by helping people understand the swindle that is taking place. Everyone with a computer should be up in arms that we don’t have Net Neutrality already. There is not a lot I can do about the second part. The national ISPs are lining the pockets of our elected officials to have them ensure they can continue their extortion racket. And with the United States Senate, there are ample quantities of both ignorance and corruption.

So write your representatives, post on blogs, make some noise! Americans need to know this matters and we’re not going to be led like sheep to the slaughter by the ISPs in pursuit of greed.

2 thoughts on “Stopping the Racket”

  1. The way I explain net neutrality to non geeks is that the internet was built upon the ballpark ethos. If you requested a hot dog and a beer from the isle vendor, it is the unwritten responsibility of each person in the row to pass the food and beverage along, without delay, at the risk of spillage, without taking a bite, and to also pass the money along the other way. Imagine how dismal concessions and the ballpark experience would be otherwise.

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