We’ve written about Net Neutrality many times. From the lack of comments we’ve received on the subject, either most of you don’t care, or don’t understand the implications of the loss of what has become known as Net Neutrality – or open access for all the Internet. An Internet where content providers – big and small – like Google & Cloudeight, have equal access. It means that our Web site content will be delivered to you as quickly as Google’.
But now that the doctrine of Net Neutrality has been ended by an appellate court ruling – and a heavily lobbied congress – what can we expect? It’s likely that small, mom and pop Web sites become slower and slower to load as big ISPs charge sites for “express content delivery”. Clearly, Cloudeight Internet is in no position to pay anyone for express content delivery, whereas Google, Microsoft, Amazon, et. al. are.
But it’s not only small sites that are at the mercy of the big cable and Internet Service Providers – it’s you and you and, yes, you. It may affect anyone who has an idea or a product and wants to start a Web site to share and idea or sell a product – unless of course you’re well-heeled. It’s more and more and more – All About The Money.
While we have not received a great deal of feedback about Net Neutrality, we have received some. The gist of which seems to be people don’t want the government meddling in our affairs. Well, I agree the government needs to keep its nose out of our business for the most part. But consider our public schools and our roads. Imagine if the government stopped funding schools or maintaining and building roads. Would you be in favor of turning the public schools and roads and interstate highways over to private corporations?
We can compare the end of Net Neutrality with the end of our public highway system. Imagine big corporations with billions of dollars taking control of our roads. Right now we all have equal access to the highways and byways and streets and roads anywhere in our country. But what if a handful of corporations suddenly bought up and controlled those highways and roads and streets? What do you think would happen?
I can imagine such a scenario: Soon we’d be paying tolls to go across town. We’d pay another toll to travel to another town, and another to travel to another state. We’d be stopping to pay tolls very often…so the next thing we’d be doing is buying “express passes” that would let us travel toll-free, but only on a certain company’s roads. And if we traveled often between roads owned by company X and Z, we’d be buying express passes from company x and company z and praying that company Y didn’t start building road too.
And so it is with a neutral Internet, we all had equal access to the content of every legal site on the Internet. Sure, come loaded faster than others, but that’s due to other variables such as location, how many images and graphics were on the site, and how well the site was coded. But every one of us had equal access to the roads of the Internet. And no one could buy the faster roads, the turnpikes, the expressways and charge us or content providers to use them. But now there is nothing stopping big corporations and Internet Service Providers from charging users or content providers to use the “express lanes”. And you know when it comes to greed, there’s no end.
So do we really want to trust the people who provide Internet services to keep things fair and equal? What do you think. Now that Net Neutrality is gone, how long will it be before we see tiered Internet – where for a one price you can access some sites, for a higher price you can access more sites, etc. Or where ISPs like Comcast, which owns NBC can throttle news from Fox or ABC or CBS as it is accessed by its customers making Fox News, CBS news, or ABC news dreadfully slow and difficult to access?
The Internet moguls, for now, are promising to keep the status quo. But remember when cable TV first started streaming into our homes? We paid a monthly fee to watch commercial-free TV. What happened? Now cable TV is just as saturated with ads as broadcast TV. And so it will be with trusting the Internet giants to keep things as they are where everyone and every legal Web site has equal access to the highways and byways of the Internet. How long do you think that’s going to last? It will last about as long as it takes to for the big Internet companies to figure out how best to capitalize on the new unregulated Internet.
According to conservatives, competition will keep Internet providers from restricting access to Internet content because deregulation is great for everyone. Indeed. Have you flown recently, did you notice a huge difference in fares between United, Delta, and let’s say Southwest? Have you bought gasoline lately…how much difference in cost was there between your local Shell station and BP station?
According to liberals, the end of Net Neutrality will doom the Internet. I think the answer lies somewhere in between. But whatever happens now will be driven by how much money Internet Providers can make – and greed has no limits.
It’s really important that you understand what Net Neutrality means and how it may affect you. We have been writing about if for years. We don’t believe in governments sticking their nose into our personal business, but as with roads, schools, fire departments, police protection, etc., the Internet and its content need to remain free, equal and accessible to everyone. Google has hundreds of billions of dollars and Cloudeight has very little, right now both Google and Cloudeight are equally accessible to you and everyone else. The end of Net Neutrality might mean that won’t be true much longer. Who do you think is going to have express delivery of its content? Cloudeight of Google?
What kind of Internet do you want?
Here are two opposing views of Net Neutrality. One published by Huffington Post (liberal) and one by Forbes (conservative):
Read both and make up your own mind. Don’t be a Conservative or a Liberal – be a person who cares about your Internet.
Net Neutrality is gone, and now we’re going to learn over the next few years which one of these articles is correct.