Month: December 2017

Net Neutrality: A Simple Perspective

I wasn’t around for Arpanet, the birth of Cisco, or the first wireless deployments. I’ve only been working with network technology for a handful of years. Still, in my naivety, I think I have a pretty good grasp of what people want their internet to look like. We don’t need the opinions of news analysts, politicians, or C level executives to break it down for us; it’s fundamental to who we are. We want freedom and we want privacy. Right now I already don’t have the freedom to choose my ISP, I can only choose DSL or cable broadband. In my case, AT&T or Comcast.
I have AT&T now, and I do like them, but I had Comcast broadband for years. I hated Comcast’s poor connection quality and snarky customer service. My only other option was lower bandwidth from AT&T DSL. I didn’t want less bandwidth, so I kept Comcast’s terrible service. So, why not just switch to another cable provider? Well, you can’t. In the United States, the cable companies spent the cable TV’s infancy lobbying for legislation that would allow each company to stake their claim in an area. Once cables were buried or strung, a cable provider essentially owned the ground and poles and could deny another cable provider a path to hang their lines. In some areas, this is permanent turf while in others it may only guarantee exclusivity for a period; ten years in my area. Fast forward to 2017 and most of these laws are still in place, so to this day if you don’t want Comcast, you can’t go talk to Charter for better service.
So we’ve established that you can’t shop around. Now let’s add net neutrality. Net Neutrality was intended to protect consumers from ISP abuse by forcing ISPs to treat all network traffic equally. It basically says if I cannot throttle a traffic for a service, for example, Hulu just because I own say Netflix and want my users to buy Netflix. Since I don’t own Hulu, you will have to buy Hulu bandwidth from me on top of your normal subscription to Hulu. This way, I get paid whether you pick my Netflix or the other guy’s Hulu. I am grossly oversimplifying, but in this capacity, it is similar to stock market protections against insider trading.
I don’t really have the in-depth insight into the matter, so if you know more about why we should preserve Net Neutrality CLICK HERE. I said this would be a simple perspective, so here it is: Killing Net Neutrality is wrong. You already don’t have the freedom to choose providers and, if we don’t preserve Net Neutrality, the greedy suits at the top of media get to pocket more greasy dollars at your expense.

Call your congressmen and tell them to preserve Net Neutrality.