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Thursday, June 08, 2006

Net Neutrality - Important Enough For Another Post

Yesterday, I put up a post in support of net neutrality and how a bill being pushed through Congress could adversely affect the free flow of information on the Internet. I also strongly urged folks to visit SaveTheInternet.com, a diverse and non-partisan site about the issue.

Well, Nestor over at Bruins Nation has written an excellent piece on the subject going into more detail about the bill, who's behind it and what it all means.

Look, as I mentioned yesterday, while this isn't the usual "funny" we do on this site, it is important to be informed about it. Especially if you enjoy the MZone and all the other blogs and websites which could potentially be hurt by such a measure.

Oh, and as for the person asking in the comment section below who's going to pay for the fiber optics and infastructure of the ever-expanding Internet over the next 10 years? The answer is you, I and the other 46+ million broadband subscribers who pay AT&T, Comcast, Verizon and the other telecos $40-$75/mo. for our high-speed Internet service.

Can those companies afford it? Well, AT&T's net - not gross - income for the first quarter of 2006 was $1.45 BILLION. But, I guess when you compare such corporate income to that of Exxon-Mobil, maybe one can cry poor with a straight face. No wonder AT&T chairman Ed Whitacre says, "The Internet can't be free." Poor Ed.


t-towngradstudent said...

Oh boy, I bet trial lawywers would love this law. Anytime a download goes a little slow.....LAWSUIT....Ka-Ching!!!!!!! Why government intervention is needed for one of the greatest communication innovations of our time I will never know.

Anonymous said...

I read somewhere that the gov't already gave them the money that was to be used for a fiberoptic or advanced network that they promised, but nothing has been done yet. And they are asking for money again. Maybe someone could fill in what i am missing here.

Anonymous said...

Great work Mzoners. Thanks for the info and links.

Yost said...

You're welcome, Anon. Granted, it's not as useful information as the Scouting Report in our Blog Co-ed Showdown, but...

BaggyPantsDevil said...

Great work Yost.

As with oil companies, the telcos are hardly “just getting by” or desperately in need of money stay out of the red.

If the internet was merely about commerce, it might not be such a big deal. Brick and mortar businesses pay more money for better locations so they can sell more goods, so it might be considered reasonable to expect online businesses to do the same.

However, the internet is more than just another place to sell stuff. The internet is also about the exchange of information and ideas. If the telcos are able to charge fees for preferential access to the internet, large corporations—who have the money to pay those fees—will most likely take up all that fast access trying to sell you something. Bloggers and individuals wishing to discuss political, economic, environmental, or religious issues will face the dilemma of paying the extra money to reach a wider audience or face being relegated to some sort of internet ghetto.

It’s at that point that the internet ceases to be the beautiful thing it is now—where EDSBS has as much access to an audience as ESPN does—and turns into just another media outlet that spoonfeeds its brain dead audience and rams heavily promoted, prepackaged, and sponsored content down everyone’s throats.

Want to read about what’s going on in Iraq from someone who’s actually there? Too bad, the bandwidth is being used up by the latest streaming add for Coca-Cola. Want to read the latest “Upon Further Review” over at MGoBlog? Sorry, you’ll have to settle for the rather generic write up provided by ESPN since they paid for the preferential treatment.

Back when this country was created, politics were frequently discussed in taverns or the town square. These options aren’t really feasible for Americans today. The town square is now a Super Wal-Mart and drinking and discussing politics can lead to duels and duels are bad. Plus, we have to drive home from the tavern now and that’s definitely bad.

So, for Americans to remain a well informed electorate (or do I mean become a well informed electorate?)—which is necessary for any democracy to succeed—access to information, ideas, and having a place to discuss that information and those ideas actually is kind of important. As far as I can tell, the internet is the best—if not only—place for that.

Sure, a slowly loading page of a college football blog isn’t going to be the end of freedom as we know it, but I don’t want to go back to the days when I had no one to share the ups and downs of Michigan football with because I’m either living in the middle of nowhere or overseas. This internet thing brings people together—people who would never have known each other even existed—and that’s a good thing (the occasional anonymous commenter notwithstanding). For it to end because someone had a bright idea on how to make even more money for an already profitable industry would be a crime.

As for Ed Whitacre, the last time I checked my fucking cable bill the internet wasn’t free. And, considering you—Ed—pull in more than $19 million a year, I don’t think AT&T is giving much complimentary bandwidth away. Bitch.

Now, if Ed ever Googles his name, he might actually read that. Behold the beauty of the internet.

Anonymous said...

Pretty interesting video about net neutrality. Kind of ironic that they're using a video -- which requires more bandwidth -- to get across the point. Still, I thought there were a few interesting points.


What do you guys think of the team this year? Tough road schedule. Three losses sounds about right.