This is an incredibly funny, and painfully accurate description of the central issues involved with Net Neutrality, and the principle characters that are involved. As you can imagine, there’s lots of misinformation that is being presented as fact, I believe this comes about as close to the truth as you will get.
The FCC which is the federal agency responsible for enforcing regulations over utility companies is also charged with oversight responsibility for the internet. Without getting into wonky public policy details, the internet is not regulated like a utility, and up to now, all data that has flowed through its pipes has been treated equally.
The giant cable corporations have lobbied the FCC to allow for a 2-tier system of internet traffic, critics refer to this as a fast lane and a slow lane. Tom Wheeler, current chairman of the FCC, and former head of the cable industry’s lobbying arm will decide over the course of 120 days whether to allow this new 2-tier system. During this period, the FCC has invited the public to weigh in by commenting on their site (see resources below).
While a 2-tier system would potentially raise costs for everyone big and small, what’s ultimately at stake for millions of sites on the internet is a lessening of actual performance. If you had to wait 15 seconds or more for pages like this one to load, or wait for videos to complete their buffering process again and again, Cooking Up a Story (and many other sites) would likely disappear.
Despite the eloquent rhetoric to the contrary from the cable industry, the broadband internet is the 21st century equivalent of the 20th century telephone. Though this bill under consideration has nothing to do with reclassifying internet broadband service as a utility, ultimately, the congress may have to do just that to preserve an open and free internet.
The 2-tier approach benefits the few at the expense of the many, and undermines the central principle of net neutrality that has been with us since the early days of the internet.
- For those wishing to comment directly to the FCC, here’s a link to their site: Federal Communication Commission for comments
- Here’s a list of resources from the group organizing this protest: Battle for the Net
- This information is from those on the other side of the issue: NCTA Net Neutrality (Cable Industry Trade Group)