net neutrality

The battle for Net Neutrality, while praiseworthy and important, always seemed to me to be the lowest hanging fruit for proponents of free and open speech, reporting and public debate. In other words, we’ve always had Net Neutrality from the beginning of the Internet. The fight finally won last week was simply about keeping it that way.
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 

Meanwhile, local corporate media was literally running stories about Homan Square that were direct copies from CPD’s public relations statements.

My friend just posted this on facebook with the following commentary:

"Weird how even without mainstream media, information can get out with the Internet! Yay! Oh, now the government runs the Internet? Shit…"


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.

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.