Friday, October 23, 2009

Net Neutrality is a Commie Conspiracy!

War hero John "a google" McCain is standing up for America yet again! He's trying to keep the government's evil hands off our tubes--- I mean, our Internets!

Yes, children--- John McCain has introduced a bill to ban Net Neutrality!

In this he has support from brave weeping patriot Glenn Beck, who has publically called net neutrality a "Marxist plot" aimed at controlling content on the Information Superhighway.

No! they tell us. We cannot have the evil Commies controlling the Internet! Instead, control must be placed in the hands of vast faceless corporations! (Who will act, as they always do, for the benefit of us all.)

In this they are following the line of the telcoms companies, who were upset that they lost control of the Internet when it was young, and who want to get their hands on its content, which they can then sell to the rest of us at a profit.

Net Neutrality, for those of you who haven't been paying attention, is pretty much what we have now. We can post anything we like, and others can view or download it (or not) as they please. No one can censor us, no one can charge money for our content (except us, if we feel like it), no one can decide that we are, say, a "premium channel" and that to download our content will cost extra.

As an Internet consumer, you can read, download, or otherwise consume anything you find on the Internet. Your local ISP charges you a fee for using their portal, but once you're on the Internet, where you go and what you look at is pretty much your business.

Net Neutrality as an FCC policy would essentially guarantee this state of affairs. This is the "government control of the Internet" that McCain and Beck oppose.

Those opposed to Net Neutrality would place all power in the hands of our ISPs. A lot of us get our Internet from, say, Comcast, or the local phone company. A lot of us don't have any choice in the matter. (If I want high-speed Internet here in rural New Mexico, Comcast is basically my only option, unless I want to shell out six hundred bucks for a satellite connection. The last time I asked Qwest whether they were going to ever provide the high-speed connection that they had illegally billed consumers $200 million for, they just laughed at me.)

Without Net Neutrality, Comcast doesn't have to let me have any part of the Internet that it doesn't like. If I want to check the ratings for Comcast's customer service (which are, by the way, wretched), I might not be able to find that web page--- or it might load very . . . very . . . slowly . . . or they might decide it's the equivalent of a "premium channel" and charge extra for it.

Or consider that Comcast is also in the business of providing television content. If I went to, say, Hulu.com to download a television program for free, Comcast could block that, because it competes with their own cable television business. Or, again, they could charge extra--- which would not go to the content creators, but directly into Comcast's pockets.

They could charge extra for videos, because that sucks up bandwidth. They could block politicians who speak in favor of Net Neutrality, or any other position they don't care for. DirecTV, which is owned by the same tycoon who owns the Fox networks, could offer Fox News for free, and decide you have to pay for other news channels. They could create their own search engine that will direct your searches to businesses who pay them a kickback, rather than to businesses that you might actually want.

This is the state of affaird which McCain and Beck, et al, find desirable.

So here's the question. Is McCain:

a) evil?

b) stupid?

c) senile?

Because I don't see another alternative here.

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6 Comments:

Blogger Ken Houghton said...

You left out:

(d) venal

(e) all of the above.

6:33 PM  
Blogger dubjay said...

Well, yeah.

Turns out that McCain has received more telcom lobbying money than any other senator.

See http://realtime.sunlightprojects.org/2009/10/22/fighting-net-neutrality-telecom-companies-outside-lobbyists-cluster-contributions-to-members-of-congress/

See also http://www.boingboing.net/2009/10/23/xeni-on-rachel-maddo-1.html

10:34 PM  
Blogger john_appel said...

You mean you missed the minor brouhaha during the 2008 campaign when it was discovered that his buddies at the telcos dropped some portable cell towers at his ranch - initially gratis - to make it easier to run his campaign, since apparently it's otherwise out of range? He's bought & paid for. He stays bought though, so I suppose that's something.

11:36 AM  
Blogger dubjay said...

I guess I missed the brouhaha.

I was probably hiding under a rock, which is what I do during most elections.

4:51 PM  
Blogger Lance Larka said...

I was about to say venal but Ken beat me to it.

So lets go with completely out of touch technologically.

10:00 PM  
Blogger John said...

I'll preface my comments by saying I've spent 12 years working as a broad band engineer in the telecom industry for RBOCs, Cable, ISPs and equipment manufacturers. It's been an interesting ride.

Net Neutrality isn't a Commie plot, it's a load of bunk. NN is a government boondoggle to extract additional fees and employ more useless dead weight at the expense of tax payers.

What NN is really about is Rich Content providers who want to sell their services, but don't want to pay a delivery fee. The Googles, Yahoo's and Ebays of the world who want to sell more high bandwidth products, but don't want to pay for their extra freight.

What you're really looking at is a clash between the bandwidth providers and content providers. There are a lot of Content provider CEO's spending time at the White House these days.

Content providers are of course providing a lot of content about how NN will protect you against bandwidth providers who are trying to limit your access. hahaha

I don't mean to sound preachy, but most people have no idea how the "net" actually works, have no idea how content servers or edge routers and switches prioritize data.

With the current advances in Virtualization not to mention the whole sale adoption of Virtual switched environments the notion of blocking content is becoming more and more laughable every day, especially when you throw in IPv6.

Content providers with the help of your Bandwidth provider can target content to your local region, but they can't realistically block your access to sites.

Going forward any reasonably well set up site will have multi-homed DNS and virtual server locations. With the obsession with securing sites from attack everyone will be spoofing IP. Good luck blocking access to that.

What consumers really care about are stable high bandwidth connection.

The 1990's provided two models for how that can be achieved in the US.

RBOCs(ATT/Verizon) who are heavily government subsidized who were happy to provide customers an average of 300k of bandwidth for 8 years (1997-2005) or the completely self financed and minimally directed cable company's that have been providing at least 1mg of bandwidth since their inception. Average cable modem bandwidth has been over 2mg since 2002.

If you live in an area with lousy broadband access, blame it on federal or local regulations that prevent competition.

Wait a little while till your Power company and your other utility companies finally get in the game. As the cable companies found out, if you can deliver bandwidth properly you can mint money.

Yes, Your RBOC DSL provider is run but idiots and incompetents. For those who were wondering, but that's a subject all by itself.

3:11 AM  

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