Why We Need Net Neutrality

In a Washington Post piece published just a few hours ago, I read how some members of Congress (read Republican) are arguing how a web that is regulated in ways to prevent slowing of some traffic (read free, such as YouTube and Facebook) will stifle invention and investment.

I’m raising the bullshit flag on this one. The fight comes down to what FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s said his proposal

… ensures the ability of consumers to access the services they want, while not unfairly burdening broadband providers.

 

Fair enough, but…

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, a Republican, blasted the draft regulations as overly “interventionist” and “a gift to trial lawyers” in a rare news conference Tuesday.

Really Mr. Pai?

The proposed regulation does nothing more than keep access to the Internet equal to all so an individual at home can access the net at the same speed and with the same bandwidth as corporations. And that’s the rub. This is an attempt to raise the possibility of corporate profit at the expense of individual free speech.

Think of it this way: The government builds public parks, much the same way the government laid the foundations for the Internet by developing ARPANET. Since public parks, in the form town squares, or commons, were the place to discuss the news and opinions of the day these were the de facto meeting places. Now suppose a company comes along and says “We’ll improve the town square. We’ll add benches and paved paths for walking and even a pretty fountain.” So they do.

A short time later they claim, “Since our company improved the square, we want to say who has access to it and for how long.” This is the point we are at with net neutrality. Internet Service Providers are wanting to claim the right to regulate who has access and at what bandwidth. The more money you can plunk down, the more bandwidth you can access.

Couple this with recent events in Ferguson MO. One of the reasons the events created such an outcry around the world was the overwhelming response to the killing of Mike Brown via social media, including live streaming of the protests. Imagine now that that free speech was squelched by a planned inaccessibility by corporations, bent on keeping the best net access to themselves.

The claim by some who have recently gained power during the last election; that deregulating the Internet would not impinge on Free Speech, are banking on you, gentle readers, not knowing the difference between being free to SAY what you want and the freedom to be HEARD.

Now is the time to be HEARD, let your Congress Members and US Senators know that the Internet is our modern town square and we demand equal and unrestricted access for all, not the wealthy few.

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