Alexander gives his take on the super-important issue of “net neutrality”, its ramifications and reprecussions – especially to users of sites like google and YouTube, and a possible solution that could quickly squash the problem with no need for excessive and undesirable additional regulation.
I’ve been following the issue of “net neutrality” very closely. I certainly agree that those who invest and build out the networks should be allowed to make money from those endeavors. If they cannot, new investment and buildup of infrastructure will be hampered by excessive government regulation. But to me, this seems much more an issue of controlling content for the optimal financial benefit than creating a reasonable return on investment. Everyone was so concerned that google would “dare” cooperate with the Chinese Government’s Censorship laws. But that is effectively what this would amount to here! Everyone directly hooked to the Internet pays monthly fees for their connectivity AND connection speed. That INCLUDES google, youtube, yahoo, and you. If google needs more bandwidth, they buy more from their ISP at competitive rates. If they require a certain level of quality-of-service, they pay more for that as well. If rates increase across the board, that will be factored into the competitive pricing environment. So what more do these providers want? From my take, they want to control – censor – what information you can access – for maximum financial gain. Forget about having google pay competitive bandwidth fees, google may be required to pay 20% of their revenues to have the “right” to access users on a particular network! Imagine making a phone call and receiving a message: “sorry, we are unable to connect you to that phone number”. Of course, it will leave out the reason – that the person you called didn’t want to pay more to “allow” you to call them from your network – like being billed for a call to their “800″ number. Now imagine that Barnes & Noble was willing to pay, so you can call them with no problem. But a call to the smaller bookstore down the block will be rejected, or even redirected back to Barnes & Noble! How’s THAT for censorship! Kind of puts a new perspective on things. More government regulation is the last thing we all need. But perhaps there is a simpler way to achieve “net neutrality”, and that is to enact a law that simply states that ISPs and backbones may not tamper with, deny, deflect, or deter any of their client’s connection requests without verifiable cause (ie stopping a denial of service attack, for instance). If the ISPs and backbones are on the up and up, they should have no objection to such a law. And of course, while we may always face the possibility of a price hike on our Internet connectivity, at least we’ll know that for whatever level of service we choose to accept, we’ll still have full access to the grand ‘ole Internet we’ve come to know and love.
Note: On another interesting note, it seems as if we may in fact already be the “true” investors behind any new fiber infrastructure that should have been created, and is only now beginning to materialize. Be sure to check out the link “You’ve Already Paid $2,000 For A Fiber Connection You’ll Never Get”.
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