There’s a great guest article on CNN by Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist — he’s addressing the subject of net neutrality. It’s a fascinating topic in my mind and worthy of some more commentary. If you’re not familiar with the “net neutrality” issue, here’s a quick description: End users pay cable and telephone companies for the right to access the internet through their networks. Right now, those companies cannot control which sites consumers access at what speeds — meaning all sites on the internet are on a level playing field. However, the cable and telephone companies are trying to get more control over the “pipes” of bandwidth that consumers use. They want to further control thier status as gatekeepers between consumers and internet companies — providing no benefits, but making them a lot of money. How? By charging web sites for the right to be served on their “high speed” pipe to the end user. Meaning, if Yahoo or Google didn’t want to pay the broadband companies, their sites would run much, much slower than sites that did pony up the dough.

I’d encourage you to watch the video I’ve embedded below for further information and commentary.

My personal opinion is that the concept of broadband service providers being given the ability to play “favorites” is absolutely crazy. If you LOVE Yahoo!, but their search results run at half speed because they weren’t willing to pay Comcast the bucks to let you (the end user) run them at full speed — would you be a little pissed? YES, I certainly would be. I think it would stifle innovation by increasing the cost to reach the end user. If I’m not mistaken, consumers already pay to access the internet via the broadband providers’ network. It’s not as if broadband companies aren’t making money with the current system — they just want further streams of revenue for their shareholders by exploiting their gatekeeper status.

Check out http://www.savetheinternet.com/


  • Hi,

    Wow, that sure is some scary stuff. I had heard that the cellular companies were working on utilizing the gps technology in the newer cell phones to try to begin sending location specific advertising directly to our units. But, I had not heard anything about this.

    I agree that this idea pretty much SUCKS. This ranks right up there with taxing drivers based on the number of miles driven each year. We already pay for the costs associated with the driving of those miles (fuel, maintenance, insurance)where is the justification for making an additional fee for wanting to utilize what we have already paid for.

    The internet is, and should remain, as level a playing field as it can be. Controlling access to information and the speed with which the information is delivered, based upon whether or not the site has ponied up the cash strikes me as having more akin to paying for “laundry” just like in the old days when Capone’s guys would “press your shirts” for a small, but manditory fee than it does advertising.

    Just my two cents. Thank you for putting this topic on my radar.

    Take care, help lots of people and have a great day!

    Tisza

  • For a more complete understanding of the issues surrounding net neutrality, I’d suggest that you also check out this video and visit my coalition at http://www.handsoff.org

  • Another resource on the net neutrality issue http://www.copowi.com which suggests the solution is neither legislation nor the free market alone. It proposes the idea that content consumers/producers (web 2.0) now become direct stakeholders in the infrastructure (web 3.0). Check out http://www.copowi.com

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