…unless they grow some balls.
But first: What is happening today?
Watch the live cspan stream!
“I will not allow the national asset of an open internet to be compromised. I understand this issue in my bones.” – FCC Commisioner Tom Wheeler, 9:30am today on cspan.
- The just submitted proposal prohibits ISPs from slowing network speed for any content provider, however…
- … the can still contract with content providers to give them faster network speeds.
So basically, if approved, net-neutrality is dead. The open internet has been preserved (thanks, FCC, I guess), but now there is going to be a new class of ultra-fast content providers.
Right now, huge billion-dollar communications companies, a.k.a ISPs (Internet Service Providers), a.k.a monopolies, a.k.a cartels, like Comcast and AT&T are on the verge of a major coup against us, the American users of the internet. Why? Because ISPs, I’m sorry… cartels are sick and tired of giving all websites equal data speed on their networks. Why should Netflix get to stream it’s movie and TV content over their networks for free, the same as you pay for streaming your videos on your YouTube account? Come to think of it, why should you be able to stream videos on your YouTube account for free? And, actually, come to think of it, why should your business website’s data be able to reach out to anyone in the world for free?
That’s right: the ISP cartels want everyone to pay to play. No, it’s not enough that we (the American consumers) pay more for our internet than most other countries in the world, and it’s slower than most, but now the cartels think that the sites we access with our expensive and slow internet service should pay them fees too… for the right to get their data to us as fast as the big guys can.
In short, the ISP cartels want to create “internet express lanes“, of sorts, so larger companies that use much more bandwidth because they have more traffic, can pay more to maintain or increase the speed of their data’s delivery over the ISP cartels’ networks.
And the FCC’s ruling on whether or not ISP cartels can do this happens today. And an early preview of FCC chairman’s Tom Wheeler’s propsed rules for “net-neutrality” would have allowed the ISP cartels to do it.
Why does net-neutrality, or equal and open internet matter?
So what is the problem with making businesses pay to play? Take our site, KiNE Magazine, for example: we have no $$$. The only way we reach tens of thousands of readers is through the unfettered glory of the free and open internet for all businesses. Now, let’s say that the FCC allows the ISP cartels to charge for faster service: what happens to KiNE? Well, big regional media companies like The Denver Post, who owns The Cannabist, could pay a premium to have their content readily available to readers, while KiNE’s content loads more slowly and is harder to find.
And why would The Denver Post be willing to pay a premium for internet data delivery speed when it all works fine already? The ISP cartels will “bog down” the all-data lanes. “ISPs can’t do that!”, you proclaim. Or really?
Comcast just did to Netflix this year. The ISP cartel purposefully slowed Netflix’s data speeds, a.k.a “bogged down” their internet lane, in order to extort payment premiums from them. And it the ISP cartels can do it to Netflix, they can do it to the Denver Post, and if they can do it to the Denver Post, they can do it to KiNE Magazine for sure, and we won’t be able to pay to play, so… we go kaput.
Basically, if the ISP cartels get what they want today, it will kill all the new start-ups, because our internet won’t be the same as the big guys can afford. They will push us out of the market by making our sites’ data speeds annoyingly slow compared to the Big Guys.
What could the FCC do to stop the ISP from creating “internet express lanes”?
IF the FCC is truly vested in protecting the American people, preserving the open internet as we know it, and allowing the little start-ups the same access to readers and consumers as the Big Guys, then they could move to protect us today by making the internet and the ISP cartels Title II “common carriers”, or a “utility”… again.
Yes, again. In 2002, the FCC stopped regulating the Internet Service Providers as a Title II “common carrier” when they began to call the ISP cartels “information service providers” and not “telecommunications carriers.” Not realizing the extent of their error, the FCC went on trying to regulate the ISP cartels and enforce it’s own rules about open and equal access. But whenever the ISP cartels got busted, like in 2007 when Comcast throttled access to BitTorrent and the FCC tried to stop Comcast, the ISP cartel took the FCC to court… and won. Why? By naming the ISP cartels “information service providers” and not “telecommunications carriers,” the FCC had lost all control of them.
So it really could be as simple as that. Instead of allowing the ISP cartels to create premium “internet express lanes”, the FCC could grow some balls again and re-name the ISP cartels as “telecommunications carriers” and take their power back.
By doing so, they would ensure the open and equal internet for all content providers, large and small.
We’ll see what happens today.
Things got interesting at the opening of the meeting today…