Daily Archives: July 29, 2008

Net nutrality gaining significance.

“I am pleased that a majority has agreed that the commission both has the authority to, and in fact will, stop broadband service providers when they block or interfere with subscribers’ access”

-Kevin Martin, FCC Chairman

The FCC appears to be taking steps to convince Comcast to stop throttling people’s internet connection speed based on what software they are using, or how big of files they are transferring.  It’s still shaky ground though, as even though there’s net neutrality principles from the FCC, they aren’t legally enforceable.  Comcast can  just give the FCC the finger and keep doing what they’re doing if they want to.

For those who aren’t quite up on the issue.  Comcast (which is an internet provider) has been intentionally slowing down people’s internet who use BitTorrent.  BT is primarily used for file sharing, and I’m not going to sit here and drabble on about how many LEGAL torrents there are.  I whole heartedly admit that a clear majority of torrents, probably are illegal.  But the issue is, if you let ISPs control this activity, where does it stop?

Right now Comcast is claiming that it is slowing people down to help ease network congestion.  (I.E. All these people downloading huge files, would keep many other paying customers from getting the speed they paid for.)  Well if we allow that.  What’s to say Yahoo couldn’t write Comcast a check, and with so many people going to Google.com, they slow down (or even restrict) ALL connections to that website, (of course claiming Google creates too much network traffic), and eliminating Yahoo’s main competition for an extremely large group of people.

Imagine not being able to visit your favorite sites, because they haven’t entered into an agreement with your Internet Service Provider.

Imagine having to pay a basic connection fee, then pay for an entertainment teir, that gives you access to YouTube.com.  A sports tier that gives you access to ESPN.com.

Imagine not being able to chat with your friends because your ISP only allows Yahoo Messenger, and your friend’s ISP only allows MSN Messenger.

Of course all these are extreme scenarios, and admittedly a bit far fetched.  I would like to believe that as time goes on, the choices in portals to connect to the internet will increase profoundly, and those with rigid, overpriced business models will be left behind by those that offer more flexable and affordable alternatives.  In this regard, I’m somewhat on the fence.  However, in the more immediate future, I truely hope that pure uncensored internet continues to be a reality.