Thursday, May 8, 2014

Bill Moyers On Net Neutrality

You may not have given any thought to all the warnings that the FCC is about to do away with "net neutrality." What does it have to do with you, anyway? and even if you knew, what could you do about it?

The answers are "a whole lot," and "more than you might think." If regulations are put in place which privilege the delivery of content provided by the big internet service providers themselves (Comcast, Verizon, AT&T... actually, the list is distressingly short) over the content provided by web sites put up by your church, your nonprofits on which you depend to inform you about the environment, global warming, international relations, the niche market served by your one-person business, your favorite political activists, your least favorite political activists (!) whom you want to keep an eye on, etc., you will soon find the internet resembles old-fashioned broadcast TV networks in, say, the 1950s, where the companies responsible for delivering things to you are also the companies that determine what is delivered to you (at an acceptable transfer rate)... and hence what you consume. As so often happens with very large corporations who find themselves in control of sources (of laundry soap or information or entertainment), the telecom's (telecommunications companies... see the partial list above) will use their de facto monopoly power to supply you with what they think you should want, serving their own interests and profitability, and ignoring your real needs.

When Microsoft was at its most dominant in the software industry, they had a slogan, "Where do you want to go today?" which I used to misquote intentionally as "Where does Microsoft want you to go today?" The self-serving behavior of the telecom's under faulty FCC regulations will be similar. You won't like it at all... unless you're CEO of Comcast, or someone similar.

Tom Wheeler: FCC Chair,
former Telecom CEO, etc.
Here's the main thing about the threatened loss of net neutrality: Obama's FCC chair and several other FCC officials are former telecom executives. And they're ready to do this thing right away, starting this month. Don't dither while you decide: contact your congresscritters right away and tell them to put legislation in place to preserve net neutrality. Bug the bejezus out of the FCC chair and other high FCC officials. And be sure to remind Obama that he promised to protect net neutrality in his first campaign for the presidency.

Moyers offers three segments of basic information, video here (summary) and here (full show), and text here (article about net neutrality). It's now or never, folks... put it on your calendar for this week!

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