Essay-Net Neutrality

If you’ve been living under a rock, you may not have heard about “net neutrality.” Regardless, I felt I needed to vent my spleen over this.

Years ago when I entered the podcasting realm, the world was pretty damned cool. You had streaming services really starting up (hello netflix/amazon prime/iTunes) that allowed viewers/listeners to connect to a media server and start watching/listening their favorite productions. For content creators, bandwidth was still somewhat expensive. If you had your own server, it was usually housed in someone else’s datacenter. If you were using “the cloud”, then your virtual server was housed in someone’s datacenter. I for one use Amazon’s EC2 as well as WPEngine for all my stuff. It’s a good thing because it’s much cheaper than having my own hardware and the bandwidth prices are pretty damned cheap.

Regardless, the number of bits/bytes people could get in their streams was only limited by the bandwidth of the server in question as well as the consumer’s. There was no throttling of the server’s bandwidth. It either had the speed or it didn’t. Unless, of course, you had a shitty ISP that gave you a bandwidth limit and then started shutting you down after so many megabytes were transferred.

Fast forward several years. The lobbyists (I would so love to sacrifice these fuckers on Garaaga’s altar) for the ISPs like AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner, Cox, et al are now attempting to “throttle” the internet. Basically, any service that provides streaming chews up these providers’ bandwidth. Or so they claim. So in order to recoup the vast expense of providing bad service, no real update of equipment, and shitty customer assistance, the greedy assholes now want to charge streaming service providers extra money to ensure they get the “fast lane” to their consumers.

WHAT? Well, imagine this. If Spotify/Netflix/Apple/Amazon don’t pay these cretins their blackmail money, your ISP will actually THROTTLE YOUR connection to these services. In other words, it won’t be the streaming service provider’s fault that your connection keeps dropping, your music or video stutters and stops. It’ll be your internet service provider’s fault because they’re holding hostage the content YOU pay for.

Unfucking believable. Here’s the thing. If these companies were actually spending serious cash on upgrading their infrastructure, I could understand raising prices for the consumers or the businesses that are using the ISPs. That makes sense. But if you really investigate these so-called “deals” that the ISPs are now offering (Comcast being the biggest shill out there right now), the bandwidth has ALWAYS BEEN THERE. It’s a massive bait and switch. And while they claim they’re going to provide you with more speed, it won’t matter if you have a shitty connection to their switches because THEY haven’t upgraded them. So in theory you could pay for 30 meg download speed and only ever get 5, regardless of what these fucking clowns say.

So what they want to do, to try and stay relevant and protect themselves from the upcoming cable/satellite tv service crash, is to screw the businesses and consumers that are supposedly clogging their space on the internet. Now is this a serious threat to the big businesses on the internet? Probably not. But what about ME?

If I were to start streaming video, podcasts, etc from my site and had a huge following out there, then in theory these ISPs would throttle YOUR access to my service. In order to get past that, they would demand I pay a goddamned fee just for consumers to access my content at normal speeds they fucking promise you in their service contracts (which they don’t live up to anyway).

For small businesses or startups, this is akin to death. Imagine a service like Netflix, Pandora, etc that started out life as a content streamer. Now imagine that your connection to these services was sub par and the video/music constantly stuttered or fragmented when you tried to listen/view it. Would those services have been successful?

The payola the big internet providers are trying to extract is an absolute death penalty to small businesses and startups who can’t afford to pay the blackmail. Any innovation that comes from someone’s garage rather than from cretinous vulture capitalists is in danger of failing before it even gets out there.

This is all gloom and doom and I’m taking it a “bit” to the extreme, but that’s essentially what’s at risk here. Netflix already made the mistake of paying the blackmail to one service provider. That in turn will embolden the other corporate ISP shitbags to follow suit. So this is the beginning of a nightmare that’s going to continue for some time if we don’t stop it.

The FCC are idiots. Always have been, always will be. The politicians don’t understand jackshit about technology (“the internet is a series of tubes”) or the ramifications. And as long as the lobbyists continue paying for their campaigns, they don’t give a fuck anyway. So what can you do? Well, you can try and do the responsible thing–write your congress person. Send emails to POTUS and the FCC and demand some goddamned freedom. Voters were sheeple when they allowed the fucktards they elected to institute the USA/PATRIOT act and look at what that’s brought us? If you ignore what’s going on in the world around you, then you deserve to be shackled by the oligarchy that this nation has become.

Fight for your freedom, dammit. Regardless of which party you support (they’re both the “money party” in my mind), say something. Period. Let’s not allow corporations and lobbyists to chew up yet another part of our rights. We already pay for the internet in tax dollars and the fees ISPs charge. Ridiculous fees, I might add. We already have one of the most expensive and inefficient internet infrastructure in the world. Don’t let them make it even worse. Don’t sit by and do nothing. Do something. Get off your ass and scream.

Okay, enough ranting. Get back to your day. Cheers.

One thought on “Essay-Net Neutrality”

  1. I remember once upon a time there was a loud outcry that porn was eating all the bandwidth of the internet. Of course it was not true. Actually is was advertising and yes there were porn ads among the other ads. Now ads are everywhere, slick glitzy and giant leeches of bandwidth.
    IMHO rhw network neutrality is at heart an issue where commercial interests want to maximize their profits for their intenet business and want the rest of us to pick up the tab. NO! They can pick up their own check.

    And thanks for all these essays that you have been cranking out.

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