Imagine this scenario: You are sitting there doing writing a research paper, and need to go online to do a search. You open up Firefox and try search Google. Much to your dismay, the page loads extremely slow, if at all, and you are forced to use a far inferior search engine. Or how about this:Aafter years of slaving away as a corporate slave for some shitty boss, you decide to quit, and open up an online business selling The Dark Side of UCSB crap. You get a host, set up your page, get things running, only to find that the majority of the people who are actually interested in your stuff cannot connect to your page because their Internet Service Provider does not provide service to the host of your website. Sounds like a horrible situation, right?
It is, if the proponents of ending Net Neutrality have their way. Net Neutrality is a set of laws dating back to the times of the telegraph, which mandated that the communication companies could not discriminate against the traffic on the network of wires that they built. In other words, they could not attempt to figure out if their competitor was sending information over their lines, and slow down or stop it from going through. This law was responsible for the massive growth of communication equipment across the United States and the world. When the Internet was created in 1969, it was completely funded by the United States government and commercial activity was prohibited. In the early ’90s, the United States privatized the Internet and the rule preventing commercial activity was lifted. However, the service providers, like Cox Communications and Verizon, which provide DSL service, were not allowed to monitor their network traffic and charge based on how much users utilized their networks. This environment was responsible for the creation of the commercial powerhouses of the Internet, like Google, eBay and Yahoo. These companies could develop and grow without constraint because the giant telecommunication companies could not discriminate against the traffic going over their networks.
Unfortunately, this all may change if the telecommunication companies have their way. They have been lobbying congress to strip the Net Neutrality regulations and let them have complete control over the traffic that goes over their networks. They argue that because they have invested billions into creating these high-speed networks, they should be able to charge their customers based on how much traffic they send over the networks. For example, if Google uses Comcast as their ISP, all Comcast customers would be able to use Google as fast as the network would allow them too. Unfortunately, Cox and Verizon customers would restrict how fast the traffic from Google goes over their network because Google does not pay them. Think of the effect this will have on the research that is done here at UCSB, not to mention the effect it will have on its residents. UCSB will have to pay through the teeth to all ISPs in order provide the same level of service to its students and researchers, making our educations much more expensive, because we will now have to pay for the increased cost of providing Internet access to the school.
Without net neutrality, there will be no way that a company will be able to start up on the Internet. Net neutrality was the reason that Google and Yahoo became what they are today. Furthermore, loosening the restrictions would be a hindrance to small companies that are trying to grow because the telecommunication companies would have them in a stranglehold, requiring them to pay more money to all the internet service providers in order to reach their customers. Also, if Net Neutrality regulations were relaxed, we would all end up having to pay more for Internet service in order to be able to access the Internet. If you want to learn more about what you can do to help save the Internet and to keep it free, please go to www.savetheinternet.com.
Daily Nexus columnist Matt Suedkamp is upset that the fine people at Cox are acting like… oh God, what’s the word?