ISPs Threaten to Innovate Less kind of reminds me of a little kid throwing a temper tantrum if you don’t give him what he wants. Can you believe how low they will sink? One of my favorite comments was:
“The only innovation currently going on is how to gouge their customers, so of course they’ll have to “stop innovating” if slapped with common carrier rules.”
PC Magazine has an excellent article on how to submit comments to the FCC. You can do that here How Do I Submit Net Neutrality Comments to the FCC? So why am I making such a big deal about all of this all this? The reason is that I am extremely concerned about where our country is heading; some people are already saying the U.S is no longer a Democracy, but an Oligarchy. This whole issue of Net Neutrality directly bears on that. They’re taking away our rights to be heard and compete on an equal playing field for such things as free speech, starting a new business, and having a chance to compete against big business. A Princeton Study by Martin Gilens and Benjamin recently claimed that the US is no longer an actual democracy. Glen’s was interviewed by TM and claimed that U.S is becoming a system of “Economic Elite Domination,” and “Biased Pluralism” instead of a democracy run by the people and for the people. I find this very alarming; Gilens and Page write “the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.” In other words, their statistics say
your opinion does not matter. If the FCC, Comcast, and other big ISPs get their way, it would just be another nail in the coffin of democracy. I think that when Martin Gilens say “Economic Elite Domination,” that applies to Net Neutrality as well. It reminds me of Demolition Man, Rollerball, Freejack, Gattaca, The Running Man, and Elysium, where corporations control everything. Is this really the world we want to be living in? If this country isn’t already an oligarchy, it sure looks like one. (See graphic below)
Imagine the internet looks like a road system, where we could only drive down certain roads if we paid a fee, for example, only rich people and big companies could drive down interstate highways, while the rest of us would have to go down slower roads. With Net Neutrality in place we can all use the interstate. What Comcast and other big ISPs want to do metaphorically speaking, is to make us pay to use the Interstate Highway system, but only companies like Netflix can afford to drive on the Interstate, so have a huge advantage in doing business, while startup companies don’t even stand a chance. We would have a two tiered internet. Do you think that is fair?
What should we do about it? We need to classify ISPs as common carriers. What does that mean? Legalistically it refers to a person or entity in the business of transporting goods or people for hire, as a public service. A private carrier, in contrast, is employed to transport good for people for specific needs on an individual case basis. For example, city buses are a common carrier, as opposed to a private carrier such as a moving company which is hired on a one-time basis. A common carrier runs according to a regular schedule on a designated route. Under common law rules, a common carrier is generally liable for all losses which may occur to property entrusted to his charge in the course of business, unless he can prove the loss happened in consequence of the act of God, or of the enemies of the United States, or by the act of the owner of the property.
To sum up this post I leave you with a wonderful graphic representation of why net neutrality is so import, and why we want to keep an open internet for all, not just big corporations. I encourage you go to the first link and make a comment to the FCC.