Net Neutrality

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With any government regulation you run into the same problem. There is either too much regulation or there is too little regulation. And usually it’s too much regulation. Net Neutrality was to enable everyone’s data to be treated the same. No matter where it originated or what it’s destination.

Comcast, a major backbone provider of the internet, has been known to throttle data of its users in the past. They did so against Netflix and bittorrent. And only Net Neutrality and customers complaining made them loosen up. Now with Net Neutrality done away with by unelected bureaucrats, Comcast and other major providers are free again to throttle or shape any data crossing their networks. And they will do so. Not today, let everyone get used to the idea that no Net Neutrality is “good” and in a year or so when everyone has forgotten about the change is when it will begin to happen.

This already happens in Europe and Asia where there is no Net Neutrality, where ISP charge more and have different packages based on the type of data one is sending or receiving. And it will happen here. Never fall for the line of “it can’t happen here.” That is a myth and lie you are telling yourself.

And now without Net Neutrality, the bigger ISPs can force the smaller ISPs to pay them more money to transmit their data across the network. This already happens in the cable/satellite world for TV broadcasting. That is why bills for those always go up. It’s the rebroadcast rights are getting, well extorted. And those operation costs get passed to the consumer.

I know, I work in the cable industry. I see the things that non-technical and the average consumer or user does not see. The loss of Net Neutrality is terrible thing.

Not Neutrality

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I woke up this morning and something was wrong. I didn’t feel any different, but I knew something was wrong. I just couldn’t put my finger on it. Then, I tried logging onto the Internet…and it was just fine. No delays, no demands for money. Just an easy logon. Then, I figured out what was wrong.

The proponents of Net Neutrality had brought Y2K back.

Seriously, was there any doubt the pro-Net Neutrality side were going to wind up with a hatchery’s worth of eggs on their faces? Anyone with a lick of common sense could have figured out the “Net Neutrality will save the Internet” line was bogus from the get go. Then again, common sense in today’s society is like finding a unicorn in your Lucky Charms.

I have a series of immutable laws that have been developed over years of observation and repetition. One of these laws is the more one side has to rely on fear to make a point, the less likely that point is valid. And Net Neutrality is pretty much all fearmongering. As it plays out, the pro-NN side wants you to believe each ISP owner is only concerned about making money and doesn’t give a tenth of a damn about the little guy. Nothing could be further from the truth. Basic economics says if you price something out of people’s ability to pay it, you lose customers and, get this, revenue. For the Net Neutrality advocates to be right, ISPs would have to literally go against their best interests.

If that wasn’t insane enough, Net Neutrality doesn’t even address the problem it seeks to solve. Granted, one of the NN provisions is transparency, but if you’re dishonest, you can find ways to hide bad behavior in plain sight and no one will be the wiser. Case in point: Harvey Weinstein. It gets even harder to be transparent when the entity controlling the Internet is the federal government. You shouldn’t need a Freedom of Information Act filing to find out if you’re getting the fastest speed for your area, but with Net Neutrality, it’s only a step or two away from that bureaucratic nightmare.

You know who has solved the problem? Cell phone providers. Thanks to technological advances, we can now stay connected to the Internet almost anywhere around the world using our cell phones. And if we need Internet access, our phones can turn into WiFi hotspots or we can buy gadgets that can do the same thing. And you thought having the Internet at your fingertips was only good for winning bar bets!

Cell phone providers have rendered the problems Net Neutrality sought to address obsolete. And if you think it merely shifts the power from ISPs to Verizon, et al, remember cell phone providers also are bound by the laws of economics.

Above all else, Net Neutrality fails to take into account the concept of competition. Back in the day, I would take my laptop with me to visit my parents and I had to deal with the slow and spotty Internet of being in a small town in northeast Iowa. Although this might seem to be an example of how Net Neutrality could be good, it’s actually not. Satellite technology has made Internet access available to people in rural areas as well as urban areas, and it can be bundled with existing satellite TV providers like Dish and DirectTV for only a marginal monthly fee.

Wow! It’s almost as if the free market has an answer for the problems Net Neutrality proponents find, because, well, it has! And it will continue to do so for long after we’ve gotten past the point where the Internet is the go-to for information, entertainment, directions, gaming, and great blog posts like this one. Okay, so that last one may be a bit sketchy, but you get the idea.

Now if only the Net Neutrality supporters would.

When Net Neutrality Isn’t

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On Thursday Feb 26th, the FCC passed rules to regulate the internet using Title II regulations from 1934 that are used on monopoly telephone companies. Prior to this day, the internet has been largely free of government regulation. And has boomed exponentially.

The FCC likes to pass this ruling as a form of Net Neutrality. But it isn’t at all. In fact it is very bad for the internet and internet users in general.

For those that aren’t familiar with Net Neutrality and what it means for everyone. It is a simple concept that any traffic on the internet is treated the same by all internt service providers. That is as, your provider shouldn’t block or restrict any lawful content moving across the internet.

There are some internet service providers that have purposely blocked their user’s traffic so true Net Neutrality is needed. But Title II is not the path to ensure the internet remains free.

Title II grants the FCC the power to tax the customers of internet service providers, regulate their rates and cause costs to be increased as the internet service providers spend millions in legal fees to understand the new regulations now forced upon them. And all of these cost increases will be past to us as the end consumer of the internet.

Additionally this has no effect on the internet content providers like Netflix, Google, Yahoo, Apple, and many others. Thus they can still make it harder for the internet providers to access their content and raise fees for the use or misuse of what they provide. Again these costs will eventually reach the end consumer. Me and you.

Net Neutrality should be in the hands of our representatives in Congress. Not the 5 unelected bureaucrats in the FCC.