Internet neutrality

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From the Jeff Chester news item linked below: "The nation's largest telephone and cable companies are crafting an alarming set of strategies that would transform the free, open and nondiscriminatory Internet of today to a privately run and branded service that would charge a fee for virtually everything we do online."


It has been alleged in various places (e.g. Rob. H's posting here) that:

  • In the 1990s the BabyBells didn't upgrade their infrastructure after getting tax write-offs and the like in exchange for said upgrades. Instead, the phone companies and cable companies pocketed their new "profits" and thumbed their nose at the American people.
  • As a result, quite a few industrialized nations have internet that has download speeds of 100 MB/sec for the cost of our current 1 MB/sec internet.
  • Whenever a municipality tries to put up its own fiberoptic network, the phone and cable companies yell "unfair competition!" and tie it up in the courts for years, while still refusing to upgrade the phone networks and pocketing money from their tax breaks (which are supposed to pay for the upgrades).

Allowing the telecoms the freedom to charge additional fees for doing the upgrading they were already supposed to have done with the public funds they were given (in the form of the tax writeoffs mentioned above) would therefore be cheating the payers of those taxes and the users of bandwidth who should have already had the benefit of improved infrastructure.

It has also been suggested that the internet should be a public utility, much like electricity and the telephone, in that it:

  • is now an essential service for business, industry, education, and (many) normal people
  • promotes democracy

...also, what's with all this "dark cable" which is apparently so plentiful that Google is able to buy it up cheaply?

  • XMission's stance on UTOPIA: apparently, when citizens get together and try to provide alternative connections to the internet (the UTOPIA project), the telecom regional monopolies (in this case Comcast and Qwest) get together and try to pass legislation to prevent it. (Note: XMission's DSL service is provided through Qwest.)




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