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'Net Neutrality'

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I would argue, in terms of the "freedom" of the internet, that corporations determining (policing) an individual's access to the internet so that certain links are more accessible/cheaper than others is pretty damn nefarious.

No, I'm for net neutrality.

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Is so-called Net Neutrality a good thing?

[c=#00dd00]Are you kidding? Of course it's a good thing. Net Neutrality is a preventive measure to maintain the status quo. It is a set of regulations that make it illegal for Internet Service Providers to discriminate for or against websites.

Here is a good introduction to Net Neutrality:


And here is a longer article about Net Neutrality and the recent regulatory decision by the FCC:


As the article explains, the purpose of Net Neutrality is "to keep the companies that control the Internet's pipelines from restricting what their customers do online or blocking competing services, including online calling applications and Web video." Without Net Neutrality, it would be legal for your ISP to block your access to websites they don't like - for example websites critical of them, or websites that go against their interests in any other way. You can bet that WikiLeaks would be completely blocked in the United States if some measure of Net Neutrality was not in force. In fact, something like Chinese internet censorship would be perfectly legal in the West if we didn't have NN.

Without Net Neutrality, it would also be legal for ISPs to make some websites or services load faster than others. This would allow ISPs to extort money from websites. Comcast could say to Amazon.com, for example, "give us money or we will slow down your site and make you lose customers." It would also very likely lead to cartels and backroom deals between ISPs and major internet corporations like Google. Again as an example, Comcast could make a deal with Google whereby Comcast agrees to slow down all of Google's competitors, in exchange for a cut of Google's profits.

In short, a lack of Net Neutrality would allow ISPs to suppress free speech online and get together with online corporations to form giant cartels or monopolies (either by mutually beneficial agreement or by extortion). It would be bad for freedom of speech, bad for consumers, and potentially even bad for online business.

That is why we need Net Neutrality. In fact we already have it, but it stands on shaky ground - it's not clear if the law allows ISPs to discriminate or not. So they've mostly decided to take the safe approach and refrain from discriminating so far. We have to put in place strict regulations to make sure they don't change their minds.

As for that Wall Street Journal opinion column you linked to, it is so pathetic that it barely deserves a response. The author doesn't even try to argue against Net Neutrality. He spends his entire time on a long personal attack against the supporters of NN, and expects you to be shocked by his "revelation" that NN is supported by eeevil socialists. Heh. What else was he expecting them to do, side with the corporations?[/c]

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