Steven Begakis and Jamie Silverstein demonstrated a serious lack of integrity and disregard for representing the facts. As individuals, they betrayed only their gaping ignorance.
Net neutrality is not some political “scheme” (nor is it capitalized) but rather the principle that all legal content on the Internet ought be accessible to all Internet users. The Federal Communications Commission’s stance on that principle is positive: It reiterates that all consumers ought be able to access legal content, with legal programs, through any legal service provider.
To misrepresent net neutrality as financial regulation is irresponsible and incorrect. Net neutrality revolves around content. It suggests that your ISP can’t dictate the kind of sites you go to or charge you more money if you want to access a particular kind of content. It means your ISP can’t deny you access to YouTube because you have only paid to look at Wikipedia.
Begakis argues that net neutrality stabs ISPs in the foot when, in fact, it only penalizes ISPs that try to monopolize access. Net neutrality is what prevents a company like Comcast from cutting off its subscribers’ access to Verizon.com, or the Web sites of any other competitor. Begakis twists the truth so immeasurably that he suggests a free society is actually one where corporations decide what kind of information consumers are allowed to have and what kind of consumers are allowed to have it.
But at least Begakis knows he’s twisting the facts. Silverstein doesn’t even know what exactly he’s arguing (or even what century he’s in). Net neutrality is a laissez-faire principle, but only as it applies to content. You can design a Web site or upload a video and anyone in the world with Internet access can access that content. And if your creation “goes viral” — like Twitter or the “Chocolate Rain” video — it can become wildly popular without you paying a cent. Economically, net neutrality has very different consequences for companies, which is why they’re lobbying against it. And regardless of what Silverstein is smoking, free Internet doesn’t have to die. As citizens, we need to inform our representatives that free access to content needs to stay free.