net neutrality

Political battles are won when the rich favor them. America’s rich have lately become rather progressive on certain social issues, and those issues have rather suddenly gone from political impossibilities to achievable dreams. This is why same-sex marriage is an inevitability and marijuana decriminalization seems more likely than ever, but we can’t dismantle megabanks or raise the estate tax. This is why healthcare reform couldn’t happen without the buy-in (and buying off) of the bloated, awful healthcare industry and the doctor cartel. (And speaking of the doctor cartel: One of the few major political issues where the ultra-rich seem to have trouble getting their way is immigration reform, but there are plenty of wealthy professionals who rely on protectionism to keep their incomes elevated.) This dynamic explains the entire “education reform” project, which is an attempt to dismantle and re-create the American public school system, dreamed up (and almost solely supported) by the wealthy elite, most of whom have no education expertise or experience in urban public schools. We have net neutrality for the same reason that copyright terms will be extended indefinitely forever and the Defense Department will keep being forced to buy incredibly expensive planes that don’t actually work: Because a large industry had a strong opinion on the subject.
What is Net Neutrality?

Net Neutrality Passed: DON’T PANIC

I studied Cyber Law in law school, and had the fortunate opportunity to study under a Professor who not only taught the subject at Harvard, but served as a researcher for Harvard. If there’s such a thing as a international rock star in the field of cyber law, it was him.

So I’m going break down what I know.

The internet we have today:

If you have internet, you buy it from a provider selecting your package based on speed. How fast a site loads depends on how fast your connection is and all websites are treated equally, so it doesn’t matter if you’re watching netflix or a video on a start up service funded on kickstarter - it’s the same internet.

The Downside:

Most people don’t have a choice in internet provider. So there’s no competition to drive down prices or drive up service quality. If you don’t like it, you can’t switch without moving. If you live in a COX zone, it’s what you get, the same for comcast.  

Many places don’t even offer higher speed options like, fiber, so the customers are pretty stuck and the US over all has pretty slow internet.

On average the US gets about 33.3 Mbps 

South Korea gets 95.4 Mbps

So Internet in the US is far from perfect. But I assume most of us are happy enough with the status quo and don’t want an outside force deciding how the internet runs.

The Cable Companies 

Who loves the cable company! 

Not a lot of people it seems…

Who wants the cable company to control the internet! 

With the internet as it is today, you pay one fee to log on and can go anywhere. Some websites require subscriptions, but you pay them directly. On the internet, there is no premium content. Everything is equal or you could say Neutral 

Years ago, the Cable Companies had an idea

What if they charged the websites to put them on the internet and charged more depending on the website? Sort of fee to use the cable companies’s wires. 

The government said No and Net Neutrality was born! That is, the internet we know and love today where all content is equal, were it doesn’t matter if you’re netflix or a start up cartoon website - you don’t pay more. There is no toll for websites to be on the internet, and no fast lane to buy into.

So a website like Bing can’t pay more to be faster than google. There is no special access to to the cable lines. 

This means websites succeed on the quality of their service and there’s no risk that start ups won’t be able to compete with established websites because they can’t afford to pay to be fast.

Net Neutrality isn’t more regulations, it’s what we’ve had for over a decade. 

Why is Net Neutrality an issue now

Because the court overturned it. (hey look a non liberal biased source)

On a technicality, saying they couldn’t find the legal basis (i.e. congress didn’t spell out the power)

This is easy to fix, since congress has the power, they can just go back and vote yes, the FCC has the power to make sure the internet doesn’t turn into cable TV. Or, since congress takes forever, the FCC can look for a different legal basis (which is what they did). 

Because the worry isn’t just that start up companies won’t be able to compete, and some content will be given premium treatment, it’s that it could lead to the cable company turning the internet into cable, complete with having to pay based on what you want to access. 

In Sum

Net neutrality = the internet we have now

Preserving the free internet and saying NO to the cable companies who want to charge based on content 

So if you’ve enjoyed the internet for the past 15 years, don’t worry, nothing has changed 

To Every Right-Wing Cartoonist Planning to Do A Cartoon about the Big Government Evils of Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality is what you’ve always dealt with. It’s the “status quo” that you’re saying doesn’t need changing or fixing. All that’s really happened on the Net Neutrality front with the new decision is that the internet has been reclassified in a way that further protects that status quo. 

The stuff Comcast and the other Telecom companies wanted? That’s what would be the big scary change. Remember when Comcast and Netflix had disagreements, and you suddenly couldn’t watch your movies because they were slow and kept disconnecting? They wanted to make that the norm, all the time, for anything that didn’t pay them enough. Do you really think that’s an improvement?

Ben Carson, the conservative activist who announced today that he will be forming a presidential exploratory committee, spoke with David Brody at CPAC last week about his likely 2016 bid.

When Brody asked Carson for his views about “this whole F.C.C. net neutrality thing,” Carson gave a baffling response that seemed to have nothing to do with net neutrality, which ensures that internet service providers treat all internet content equally, as he suggested that the principle of the open internet somehow will lead to more secrecy and less privacy.

Carson told Brody that President Obama and others want to “impose another level of secrecy and control in the private lives of citizens” through net neutrality, arguing that officials should instead focus on “exploring ways to allow people to do what they want to do, they’ve been doing it for years, so why should we now impose a layer of government control.”


The rules reclassify Internet as Title II of the Telecommunications Act, making it a utility

The FCC voted in favor of the Open Internet Order, new net neutrality rules that would prohibit paid Internet paid fast lanes, and reclassify broadband providers as telecommunication services under the Title II of the Telecommunications Act, among other regulations. The rules were passed by a 3-2 vote along party lines, with Commissioners Ajut Pai and Michael O’Rielly (Republicans) voting against the measure and Commissioners Mignon Clyburn, Jessica Rosenworcel and Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler (Democrats) voting in favor of the order.

The Internet is saved…for now.

…it goes back to the telegraph, where—I don’t want to, you know, go on too much about history, but in the 19th century, the telegraph had such control over the wire news, that they tried—would use their power to try to throw elections for the Republican Party. It has been—the tension between the people who own the wires and the stuff on top of the wires has been with us since the wires existed. And I don’t think it goes away. That’s why I think it’s—you know, at some level, there always needs to be government oversight. There’s too much power in private hands when someone owns the master switch, to use my book’s title. And we have seen this before. We saw it with AT&T. We’ve seen it over the radio waves, with broadcast networks. You know, there isn’t—everyone knows this, but, you know, the revolutionaries take over the radio stations, and now they take over the Internet sites, first because there is an enormous amount of power, and unchecked private power is a dangerous thing.
—  Tim Wu
Net neutrality wins!

Today, the FCC voted 3-2 in favor of rules that reclassify broadband Internet service as a utility, effectively stopping service providers from blocking sites or apps, charging users extra to surf the Web at full speed or operating paid “fast lanes” for specific services or websites like Netflix or YouTube. And though we’re not completely out of the woods yet, this is huge news.