Reader Feedback on Net Neutrality Comes Around on the Ferris Wheel Again
February 25, 2008 Timothy Prickett Morgan
The issue of Net Neutrality can get the blood boiling, and it should considering that the stakes are very high for our public lives and private economics as citizens and for the telecom and Internet giants who are vying to shape how the Net is regulated–or not. Here are some thoughts from a reader on the subject, which reflect a common viewpoint on the issue. And the strong language that people sometimes use as they discuss the issue.
It all depends on how you slice it. These types of “services” that might include phone, cable, satellite TV, electricity, water, gas, etc., are basics that all (holistic minded) would agree have to be handled in a neutral fashion. Even ignoring the obvious fact that none of this was ever possible without public funding and ignoring the “who owns the infrastructure” argument, the “network” or “Net” is no different than the highway infrastructure built for the benefit of all.
So, yes, the Internet traffic should run free. But then again, so should phone traffic. Break them all up. Give the infrastructure back to the people where it belongs. Allow Net, TV, phone, etc., to have neutrality. We’re sinking right back into the hole we tried to crawl out of with the AT&T breakup, thanks of course to the strangle-hold of telecoms.
In a similar vein, it is really no different. Going that low on the service totem pole and it’s a no-brainer, it has to work like the highways or will ultimately fail in a quagmire of self-promoting and competing interests. Sure, have premium service, but don’t prevent someone from using the infrastructure to say, stop the cell phone and telecom (Internet, etc.) raping of America. Find me an American that is tech savvy or not who thinks they should pay more than $29.95 for cell phone, phone, Internet, TV (cable or satellite) for each one. That’s about $80 tops per month, and that’s high. We built the infrastructure, taxed to death on it, pay for the electricity that runs it, taxed to death on it, pay many itemized fees that no one has a freaking clue about what they are except of course those who are actually charging the additional service fees.
Bottom line is that communicating by phone, email, or Internet is a basic service, not the premium that the communication companies want everyone to believe. I mean how stupid is it to pay $79.99 a month for the right to talk on a cell phone? The telecoms are just ROLFing all the way to the bank.
So you tell me, are the major communications companies arguing about Internet traffic? Hell no, they’re preserving what is fast becoming a total monopoly on basic services that you cannot do without. Sure, 50 years ago, pre- and post-WWII, it did not matter, it did not change your life that much, but today, these things are necessities.
Which of the TV services that use satellite had anything to do with its actual development? Zero. Now how much “free” TV is available? Zero. So our tax dollars build them, put them up, maintain them and now we have no choice but to use these services at the high fees now that there are no alternatives. Talk about Catch-22. We pay for these services and still have to watch commercials, now that’s the raping of America. (As far as infrastructure could make the same argument about cable). I’m sure that DirectTV pays fees for satellite usage, but seriously, just what other choices are there? Skip to the next cable or satellite operator? How long is it before it’s all the same high-price across the board?
There’s a huge difference between a vendor who sells software on a machine that it did not build or own, that runs on electricity that it does not create and has absolutely no control over that company than say a phone company that claims it “owns” the infrastructure (wires to your house, cell towers, etc.) and provides a “service” that it’s your choice whether to have or not, some service, sure, uh-huh.
I don’t believe the battle is over the Net. It’s a much, much bigger picture.