Originally posted April 30th, 2006
Net Neutrality is the foundation stone of the internet. The removal of this fundamental concept will emasculate the internet and ultimately destroy a great global resource. It has provided a forum for the ordinary person in the street that has proved far more effective than what the soap box in Hyde Park ever was. Minnows have gained redress against global corporations simply by harnessing its power. Cash strapped visionaries have used it to create highly successful enterprises.
The proposed ammendments to legislation to allow telecommunications companies to build a two tiered internet service will allow these companies to control the speed at which content can be delivered to customers. This is a recipe for global disaster and the dismantling of the internet as we know it today. Globally we currently have a multi tiered system that exists because of a combination of economics and technology. If one cannot afford a cable or adsl connection or such services are unavailable where you live, then you have to get by with the second rate service, namely a dial up connection. Those who live in the larger cities can access a first class broadband cable service (usually for not much more cost than a dial up connection). There are different standards of “broadband” connections and the speed of your connection can vary from not much faster than a good dial up connection to extremely fast, hence the many different levels of service that are currently available. At present the speed of your service it throttled by the quality of your connection to the internet.
If the proposed amendments are passed, the speed of access will be throttled by the telecommunications companies on a per site basis. The site owner will have to pay a high fee so that potential visitors can view the site. Since no site can survive for long without traffic, this will give the telecommunication companies, the right to tax you, censor your site and control foreign trade.
I am an Australian National that has had the good fortune to travel globally frequently for extended periods of time. As such I normally refrain from commenting on another country’s political matters. This issue has so much potential to adversely affect the global internet that I feel I must highlight the potential negative effects.
The removal of internet neutrality has such significant potential for global impact that this issue is a global issue. The United States of America started the internet and controls the key governing bodies for the internet. A very large proportion of the world’s internet traffic passes through points in the U.S. Assuming the proposed changes are passed, the U.S. telecommunications companies will have the power to restrict global trade simply by deciding as to whom we are allowed to communicate with. Censorship?
They will also have the power to decide if your site can be viewed by users at large. Censorship by another name?
The application of these proposed laws has the potential to bankrupt even large internet based businesses. Even if an enterprise has its own fibre optic cables and data center, it must at some stage connect into the telecommunications network to reach the end user. At this point, a telecommunications company can throttle their service to such a low speed that the users connection will constantly time out.
If you do not think this could happen, think again. In Australia, we have two main telecommunications companies, namely Optus which is owned by Singtel who in turn is owned by the Singapore Government and Telstra which is 51% owned by the Australian Government. Optus has a fiber optic cable that runs from Cairns in the far north to Perth in the west via Melbourne in the south (about 8,000 miles) with fiber optic distribution networks in the capital cities. Telstra has a network that covers the whole of the country with various levels of service that range from pathetic to reasonable, with all at a premium price. The smaller telcos (including Optus) rent lines from Telstra and sell these servies to clients at a cheaper price than what one can access that service direct from Telstra.
Here is where the dirty tricks come in. When you sign up with the smaller company, you wait and wait and then wait some more to get your service connected. Should that service malfunction, you wait for an eternity to have it repaired. In the meantime your business is slowly going down the gurgler!
When ever Telstra has a BigPond (their internet service) promotion running in your area, it is amazingly coincidental as to how often your dial up service with another provider suddenly drops our or how slowly your dsl line runs.
It is extremely difficult if not impossible to prove that these things are being manipulated, but it is a widespread and commonly held belief.
If this amendment is passed, expect to see a huge increase in these coincidental incidents or be held to ransom to prevent it happening to you!
If you want to keep the internet intact place a link to SaveTheInternet.com and if you are a U.S citizen, voice your opposition to these proposed amendments.