Don’t Feed The Net Trolls!

Net Neutrality

If you like your Internet the way it is then you are supporting “net neutrality.”  As of now corporations like AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast cannot charge you (or your company) more for higher speed service. 

Meanwhile  back in the U.S. Senate, Senator Ted “Cuban-Canadian” Cruz is staging a full on frontal attack on Net Neutrality – using a lovely combination of lies, misunderstandings, obfuscation, and downright idiocy to make his points.  Here’s a classic:

“CRUZ: When you regulate a public utility, it calcifies it — it freezes it in place. Let’s give a simple contrast. The Telecommunications Act of 1934 was adopted to regulate these [brings out an old rotary-dial phone]. To put regulations in place and what happened? It froze everything in place. This is regulated by Title II. [pulls out an iPhone] This is not.” [Wonkette]

WRONG, WRONG, AND WRONG.  Excuse me, but my smart-phone has an FCC number on the back. It is regulated just as every other phone is regulated, by the provisions of the 1934 Communications Act.  Far from being “calcified” the phones in my life have run the gamut from the Tulip Phone in my grandparent’s hallway to the smart-phone in my pocket.  The old Tulip Phone and my smart-phone are subject to the same Communications Act of 1934.  So, Senator Cruz can haul out Grandma’s Tulip, or the 1957 rotary, or the 1966 Ma Bell wall phone, or the Princess Phone, or the not-quite-portable cellular Bag Phone, or the Flip Top, or the smart-phone … and it’s perfectly obvious that the Communications Act of 1934 didn’t “calcify” anything.  (See Also: Bob Cesca – “Whopper”)

Not that being dead wrong has ever stopped the Tea Party Darlin’ from Calgary before.  So, he goes off some more:

CRUZ: “”Net Neutrality” is Obamacare for the Internet; the Internet should not operate at the speed of government.”   [Gizmodo]

Silly, Silly, and Silly.   There’s not much substance here, just an admixture of political cynicism, buzzword rhetoric, and silliness in the service of some very very profitable corporations.   The logic herein is non-existent: If you don’t like the President and you don’t like health insurance reforms then you won’t like Net Neutrality.  Huh?  This is all froth and no beer.

What the President wants is to prevent the corporations from BLOCKING, THROTTLING, OBFUSCATION, AND USING PAID PRIORITIZATION. [White House]   As a consumer, you don’t want to be blocked from the legal content of your choice.  As a consumer, you don’t want the corporations to deliberately slow down some content and speed up others based on the type of service or your ISP’s preference.

As a consumer you want INCREASED not decreased transparency.  There should be no special treatment of points of connectivity between the ISP and the rest of the Internet.  And, as a consumer you don’t want to be “stuck in the slow lane” because you didn’t pay some extra fee to the ISP.

Who’s Opposed to Net Neutrality?  The Daily Dot provides a succinct summary:

Going back to 2005 (when the phrase “net neutrality” first shows up in lobbying disclosure reports), the principle’s biggest opponents (Verizon, AT&T, Comcast and their allies) have lobbied against net neutrality about three times as hard as the biggest proponents of neutrality (Level 3, Google, Microsoft and their allies).

It’s not that the Big Three are struggling for money – AT&T reported just under $129 billion in sales/revenue (2013), Verizon reported $121 billion in sales/revenue (2013), and Comcast reported about $65 billion in the same category. {Marketwatch 11/19}

They’re also spending that money on a major lobby effort to end net neutrality, and the following chart (Daily Dot) shows how much from 2005 to 2012:

Net Neutrality spending

Senator Cruz might just as well show up on the Senate floor wearing an auto racing fire-suit bedecked in corporate logos, with the largest sponsorships decaled on his vehicle advertising Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast.

Which side are you on? If you happen to me a multi-billion dollar communications corporation you don’t want to be a “utility,” you want to be “deregulated!”  If you happen to be a consumer – as are most of us – you want Net Neutrality – you depend on it for sending holiday photos to relatives, for looking for job openings, for finding information on topics of special interest, to make vacation bookings, to watch a movie or video, or for all the other things the Internet has to offer.

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