Sunday, January 14, 2018

Net Neutrality - What is what?

One of the biggest arguments today is Net Neutrality.  What is Net Neutrality and why should I care? Net Neutrality is split up in several provisions:

1. ISP's could not charge you more if you lived in a rural area more than they could charge someone who lived in a city for example.

2. ISP's were treated as Utility companies and thus could not refuse you service if they serviced others in that area.

3. ISP's could not charge more for services such as streaming, social media messaging etc.

4. ISP's could not throttle down (slow down) traffic to competitors services or give priority to their own services and goods and they couldnt block competitors services.

5. They were not allowed to block content of any kind.

Now with these Net Neutrality rules now revoked what does that mean for you as a consumer. We will go by the list above to illustrate the changes.

1. They can now charge you more depending on where you live. For example, I live half a mile down a path. They could charge my neighbors at the top of the path $30 bucks a month because they live closer to the switch and charge me $100 bucks a month for the same services.

2. ISP's can now refuse you service depending on where you live. If you live a mile down a road or path they can refuse to run that wire and in turn force you to turn to another provider who may have less than stellar service.

3 and 4 ISP's now have full control over what you can consume and what services you decide to use and can charge you more for whatever services they see fit. For example, if Verizon has a contract with Microsoft for Bing, OneDrive and Microsoft Online they can slow down Googles services and even conceivably block Googles services. ISP's can now charge you more for streaming services such as Youtube, Netflix, Hulu, iHeartRadio, Pandora etc etc.

5. They can now block any content they want. For example, Comcast is owned by NBC which is a politically liberal organization they can now block access to FOX News or make it so you have to manually access that content yourself and they can prioritize any content that they want to. If they dont like Porn for example, they can block access to porn sites. If they dont like kitten videos they can block access to kitten videos. So it gives ISP's incredible control over what you want to see.

So while these changes benefit ISP's and larger providers because they can now charge the companies more to make sure that their content is prioritized in the same breath ISP's can now visit higher costs to the consumer. Using the Verizon example if Microsoft says they want access blocked to other OS providers, Verizon can legally slow down and not prioritize traffic to Apple and Linux distributors. While anti-competitive its something they CAN do. Trusting ISP's to do the right thing is akin to letting a convicted pedophile babysit your kids while you are on a week long vacation.

Now, some people will say this helps cut down on illegal downloads ie BitTorrent, illegal downloads and other criminal activities they arent seeing the forest but are staring at a tree.  Nothing good has ever come of inhibiting technology.  The computer industry for awhile was pretty stagnant.  The real innovation came with the personal computers.  Micro and Mini PC's.  When the open architecture was implemented we saw a plethora of innovation.  Would Linux, UNIX or even Windows be where they are today if the content was blocked?  No they wouldnt be.  Any kind of inhibiting of technology doesnt make anything more competitive and it doesnt enhance innovation but rather stifles it.

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