Net Neutrality – They Just Don’t Git It?


I rarely update this blog but now there is a topic where I have to blow off some steam. And hopefully point any would be visitors in the right direction.

The topic is net neutrality. Here goes:

Have you gotten accustomed to using the internet on a daily basis during the last decade? Would you say it is an important medium for you? Do you appreciate the fact that YOU get to choose which websites, services and online stores (big or small) you want to use? Would you like ALL of your internet activities to work as fast and smooth as possible?

Well, if you answered yes to any of the above you are for net neutrality – regardless of your political affiliation in other regards. Even if it means you (gasp!) have to agree with Obama!

Don’t fall for any of the “Obamacare for the internet”, “oh my god the government wants to regulate the internet!” crap that is floating about. That is NOT what net neutrality is about. And talking in those terms only indicate that you either aren’t very bright or completely in the pocket of the telecom industry – quite possibly both.

In fact, if you consider yourself conservative and/or republican you should listen to your more knowledgeable colleagues and make a point to tell people like Ted Cruz to shut their pie hole on this issue.

Because he’s not doing you any favors on this one. Really.

So what IS net neutrality then?

Response to nonsensical comments on net neutrality

In short, it is coming up with working laws to keep the internet working like it has until this point. The only ones who want to change things are telecom companies who have found loopholes in current legislation and want to use that to call the shots about what happens online for themselves (yes, they DO want to regulate!) – and make additional profits at every turn doing it.

Here is a written letter to the above mentioned senator that describes the issue in an entertaining way:

Also you may need to brush up on what things like free market and monopoly are and how that applies to the internet and the telecom industry.

Or just want this very entertaining and on the topic completely accurate video:

The above two pieces really cover the issue in much better detail than I ever could, but there is something I haven’t seen mentioned in many places that I want to cover.

A common argument seem to go something like this: “If Netflix is taking up such a large chunk of the ISP:s (companies like Comcast, AT&T etc) bandwidth, isn’t it then only fair that they compensate the ISP for this heavy load of data?”

While this may seem reasonable from one point of view, it really isn’t.

Because the traffic in question is already paid for – by you and millions of other broadband customers who use Netflix – or anything else on the internet! And by Netflix (see next subheading).

I view it this way: Your broadband provider has sold you a connection with specified speeds for download and upload transfers. The faster the connection the higher the monthly fee.

Exactly what you use the bandwidth you pay for is none of the cable companies’ business!

Theoretically you should be able to use the full bandwidth you’ve paid for 24/7 without the ISP complaining – otherwise they have sold you a product (likely at a steep recurring price!) that they actually can’t deliver (in itself an illegal proposition in most places). Whether you  use 1 percent of your bandwidth for Netflix or 99 percent is simply an irrelevant question.

The broadband companies would like to squeeze out more profitable fees at every turn of course, but that is hardly in the interest of the general public. Unless you are bribed or a substantial share holder in the broadband company I don’t see why you would think otherwise – seeing as all the other claims of “the government is coming” are clearly bunk.

You do understand who in the end pays any additional fees for internet traffic, don’t you.

Your ISP Don’t Own The Internet

Facebook's server complex in Luleå, Sweden. I don't know about you, but that certainly looks like expensive infrastructure to me.

Facebook’s server complex in Luleå, Sweden. I don’t know about you, but that certainly looks like expensive infrastructure to me.

Related to the above note, I really don’t like the notion that companies like Netflix and other online businesses (small or large) are somehow freeloading at the expense of the cable companies. The belief that the cables of Comcast or similar companies makes up all of the internet is a very mistaken one. Same goes for the “fast/slow lane” discussion that would indicate the cable companies are the only deciding factor in that regard.

If you have maintained even a small site you know that, as a site owner, you have to pay for hosting space and bandwidth. If you are a one man band like me you’ll likely manage with a relatively affordable shared hosting plan or rented server. If you are Facebook, Google or a similar player you have to invest in huge server farms all around the world.

If you have done any kind of online marketing, you’ll likely know that it is completely up to you to do your best to ensure (and pay for) the connection is as fast enough on the server end of the equation – your end of the line, so to speak. Many marketers have learned this lesson the hard way, when a popular product launch has overwhelmed their server in two minutes flat.

We all use and pay for the internet in various ways. It is in no way the sole property of telecom giants to rule over and do with as they please.

That is what true net neutrality aims to protect.



Why would a resident of Scandinavia, like myself, speak this flamboyantly about US ISP:s that I (thank goodness!) don’t actually have to deal with. Well, as an online marketer I do have websites that cater to an American audience and I would be really upset if I had to pay extortion money to American ISP’s for the “potential” to be visible to internet users using their connection. This might not happen, but it is definitely a possibility if net neutrality falls.

Secondly, while notions of “how third world countries and dictatorships will react” to “the US goverment regulating the internet” is absolutely irrelevant garbage – especially as all that is proposed is to keep the internet OPEN and ACCESSIBLE to everyone – allowing telecom giants in the US to have their way will certainly cause ISP’s within the European Union and other western countries to do their best to achieve something similar.

And if that becomes reality you will indeed have f*cked it up for everyone.


Featured post image courtesy of Openmedia.

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