David Isenberg has a good post on the network neutrality issue, that started out as a letter to one of the old media gatekeepers, on the battle for the future of the internet I talked about this past weekend.
He makes some very good points, but the one that really grabbed me is the following question: [Is] internet access a freedom, like freedom of the press, or a privilege that may be granted or withheld?
Clearly, the telcos want to couch it as a privilege they can parcel out (for a fee of course) to whichever web site will pay them the most money. The telcos want to play the role of traffic cop, directing people like you and me to certain websites by controlling the speed at which we go from where we want to go (slow) to where they are paid to direct us (fast).
The telecos (the same ones who want to ban municipal wi-fi in Texas) want the right to charge web sites and other bandwidth users for using their internet lines and infrastructure. We, the customers, have already paid our ISP for internet access. The telcos now want to charge our internet destinations for bringing us to them. Of course any destination that capitulates to this ludicrous demand will find some way to pass that cost through to us. So ultimately, we’ll all pay twice.
The answer, of course, is legislation requiring network neutrality. We need to nip this sort of thing in the bud. Here’s a list of email addresses for the members of Congress and other elected representatives (I don’t support the web site where this list is located, but it’s the best list I could find).
Otherwise, the internet, which has become central to our way of life, will become a privilege- and a more expensive one at that.
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