Wow when you search Net Neutrality or NN on reddit the subreddits that show up span from politics, conspiracy, technology, to thewaroncomast! It seems NN can spill over into any conversation topic.
My initial sentiment on the subject of NN is, “yeah keep the internet open to all, enough said.” Living in the US we hear reports that Google and Yahoo have to censor their search engines in countries where the freedom of press is not a right. Example of that being in China, where you can’t search for current events like Tiananmen Square. So with the possibility of a corporate take over of the internet set to happen in America. Naturally the web starts buzzing with negative comments towards companies like Comcast and then David Cross calls someone a corporate shill, and that’s when things get out of control.
Here’s David Cross if you don’t know who he is.
So why would there even be a debate about regulating something like the internet, we live in a free democratic society?
Well it may have to do with the cost of maintaining and or improving the infrastructure of the internet. Reading the very recent article by Maggie Reardon 13 things you need to know about NN. One of the recent commenters Deutoronomy, makes some lengthy points that sound reasonable. To sum up the points they go something like this. How do most improvements happen for public utilities that are privately owned? Through private investments or costs that are passed onto the consumer. Infrastructure upgrades for the internet will most likely happen the same way. Streaming services like Netflix, gobbles up one GB of data per hour for each standard definition video and up to 3 GB for HD.
If we want a blazing fast internet it looks unfortunately we’re going to have to pay for it. With so many applications, online services (Netflix, Hulu, AppleTV), smart home appliances (thermostats, refrigerators, washers) all connected to the internet. Someone is going to have to prioritize who gets what, and at what speed. If you’re expecting to continue piggybacking off your neighbors Wifi and use these services, your in for a surprise.
The chance to perverse the internet with tactics like throttling or directing you to advertisements will always be there. I think it comes down to two options, either we have an slowly expanding internet dictated by little investment and control. Or we have a blazing fast internet that will cost you more, but the service will be lightyears ahead.
With all your smart gadgets could you compromise with having internet that is free (not regulated by the private companies) but your bandwidth is slow and capped? Or would you consider paying extra for really fast speeds but with the possibility of seeing more advertisements?
Here’s some Futurama humor to get you started.