June 15, 2006

Cyber-Freeway: A Net Neutrality Analogy

Say this three times as fast as you can: Net Neutrality Analogy!

No, seriously... WHAT is NET NEUTRALITY all about?

Google has us in a buzz. I have read Google's petition and quite a few articles that make you feel as if the Phone Companies are out to slap-up on the little users like you and me... possibly take away our freedoms (or worse, our bandwidth), and even make us pay taxes on usage (hey - here's a moment of enlightenment - you already ARE... just check the monthly statement under the line item: 'Federal Universal Service Fee')!

It's all the fuss in the Media... and people are taking sides. But do they really understand what this is all about??? I didn't.

So I decided to go and ask a level-headed, conservative, Christian, telecommunications specialist what his take on Net Neutrality was. I didn't have to pull out the phone book (luckily), since my husband fits all those descriptions perfectly (you can't have him, he's taken!). He also happens to be a wonderful parablist, and can explain even complex subjects like microbiology to a seven year old without breaking a sweat. Here below is his brilliantly simple explanation of the whole Google-led charade:

Google (you could also say Microsoft or Amazon here) wants YOU to believe this is all about your freedoms and pocketbook. Then they can get you mad as a hornet and make you call your senators demanding "Neutrality" - or whatever politically-correct, spin-doctored word they can think of to get you to rally to their aid.

If you want Net Neutrality put in common 'Every-day Joe' speak, try Kevin's little parable on for size....

The internet is like a highway system. The internet service providers (which Google is trying to make look like the bad guys here) are the transportation departments who have to maintain and supply the roadways. The large corporations (like Google) are the truck drivers.... and the little users (which Google appears to be wanting to help and protect) like you and I are the cars and trucks.

The transportation departments (service providers) want to control their roads (pipelines/gateways) to make sure that the truckers (Google/Microsoft... and those who create a lot of traffic) have to pay fair taxes to keep the roads in good shape for all the users (us). The truckers don't want to pay taxes. They want to use the roads at will and be allowed to control the lanes by jamming them with their products and services - leaving little room for others to "shoot the gap". This gives them preferential treatment over smaller vehicles. Truckers also generate more need for road repair (their video streaming takes preference over your email), and the transportation departments (service providers) want to make sure they pay more tax than the little guys (you and me) to use their roads. After all, they do use the roads more often, right?
Google doesn't want to pay taxes (like you do) on pipes (or allow phone companies to control the pipes they created to allow YOU equal access and bandwidth). Google doesn't have to keep the highway running, but it certainly causes traffic jams.

Do we really want the government telling the phone companies what they can do with their equipment? Doesn't that bother you on some primal level (As a homeschooling parent, do you want the government telling you what you can teach your kids?)? Isn't it only fair that the huge trucks that are always on the roads pay for their fair share of road maintenance? The whole Neutrality thing stinks of Net Fascism, and only would make it more difficult for the end-users like you and I in the long run (and tie the hands of the service providers - slowing down progress and future options). So what if the providers get a little more tax money (from the bigger traffic companies who keep the pipes clogged with their streaming video). That will only promote better maintenance, less outages, and faster service - which benefits you and me.

So I guess I'm not for Net Neutrality after all. I'm glad I asked my husband what he thought before I jumped on Google's skillfully worded band-wagon.

After I typed this, I went online and found this little gem: a video explaining Net Neutrality for what it really is... an effort by big net-hogs and big-government to regulate free enterprise (us) and get away with making us pay for it.

Even the small to mid-sized cable firms have some pretty interesting comments on the matter:

Smaller cable firms take aim at Net neutrality fans
By Anne Broache
Staff Writer, CNET News.com

Published: May 8, 2006, 2:56 PM PDT

".....Net neutrality, also called network neutrality, is the philosophy that network operators should not be allowed to prioritize content and services--particularly video--that come across their pipes. Proponents have launched a campaign to enact detailed regulations barring such practices, and so far they've won over some congressional Democrats.

Network operators counter that they deserve the right to charge premium fees to bandwidth hogs in order to offset their vast investments in infrastructure and to ensure the quality and security of their products. Mediacom has made $1.7 billion in capital investments over the past decade, according to Commisso.

"It's incredible that a company like Google that's got market capitalization bigger than the combined value of the cable business....these guys just started five, 10 years ago, and they're asking for special favors already," Commisso said.

His statement conjured up earlier admissions by telecommunications power players, including one Verizon executive who cautioned that Google should not be entitled to a "free lunch."

Net neutrality advocates--which include Google, Microsoft, Amazon.com and a medley of mostly left-leaning consumer groups--argue that such a business model would lead to increased costs for Web surfers and would assault the Internet's historically open architecture."

So there you have it folks. 'Net Neutrality' is 'Cyber-talk' for "Google gets a free lunch".

....And did you catch that last phrase in the article above? 'Left-leaning'. Hmmmm.

Buzz Words: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Åñèè§å said...

I like your template.... it really is pretty :)

Anonymous said...

I wondered what all the fuss was about and now I get it. Be sure and thank Kevin for me. :)


Sprittibee said...

Thanks Aneesa. I appreciate your thoughts and comment!

Amanda - I told him. :) He's so smart, 'aint he? A real regular college-edumacated feller.

Anonymous said...

It makes me so sad to see that good people like you and your husband have had it explained to you exactly backwards.

I just watched that cartoon you link to. Look who is behind it. Bill Clinton's press secretary and senior advisor to John Kerry. It is dishonest. Net Neutrality doesn't stop them from opening new lanes. It stops them from telling some of those cars that they can't drive anymore.

They already have room for the new highways. The big telecoms put so much fiber optic cable down in the 90's that most of it is turned off -- they call it "dark fiber." When the dot-com bubble burst, they realized nobody was going to pay for all that cable. Now they want to charge people to make it up.

You were told Net Neutrality is fascism, but right now, you get to decide what your family can see on the Internet. You didn't decide to homeschool your kids so somebody else can tell you what books to give them. Why would you let some big corporations decide what websites you can see? Without Net Neutrality, somebody else will decide what you have access to and who you can contact. Who knows if what they believe is ok or not ok for your family?

Sprittibee said...

Well, anonymous... my mind is certainly not closed on the matter... and I wouldn't mind reading these other links that you've got if you care to share them here. I have never heard of dark fiber (and I would have thought I should seeing as how my husband has been in the telecom field for nearly ten years or more)... I do however know that there's a bunch of projects laying fiber still going on today (with many neighborhoods unable to use it yet).

Please explain how not signing on to the Net Neutrality band-wagon would eventually result in me not being able to surf the internet and view any content that I wish to see. ???

Anonymous said...

Here's some video of a debate between Clinton's press secretary and a Republican who now works for Amazon. It's pretty long, but at the end I think you'll see why the people behind that cartoon are lying.



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