What the telcos want to do is reduce your access to websites and services unless those services have paid a bribe for "premium carriage" to you. So Google buys its bandwidth from its ISP. You buy your bandwidth from your ISP. Then your ISP goes to Google and says, "If you want to send your bits to our customers when they ask for them, you'll have to pay us too." If Google doesn't pay, the ISP slows down its bits when you ask for them.
They call this "free and unregulated internet access for content flow and connectivity speed free and unregulated internet access for content flow and connectivity speed."
Here's how I see it: the telcos and cable operators got a huge public subsidy when we agreed to let them use our public sewers, tunnels and streets (not to mention our houses and basements) for their wires. We give them all this for free or far below the market costs. They put their wires in our dirt.
Now they're saying they don't want to give us the service we want. Literally. That's what fighting Net Neutrality is about: it's ISPs fighting for the right to slow down or discard the bits you, the customer, ask for.
I say, it's our dirt, so we make the rules. If they don't like those rules, let them get their goddamned wires out of our dirt, off our streets, out of our basements. Let's give them 60 days, and if they haven't pulled up their wires by then, we'll buy them for the scrappage price of the copper. Then we'll turn over those wires to companies that are willing to give us the bits we want in exchange for the billions (trillions?) worth of public subsidy these greedy corporate welfare bums are currently enjoying.
Nowhere in the Constitution does it say, "Congress shall give away the public's priceless assets to companies and then sit around sucking its collective thumb while the companies screw the public." If AT&T and Comcast don't want to give us the service we want, let them buy every inch of conduit and right-of-way at market prices. Until then, they can STFU and give us the network we demand.
This morning, representatives from various front groups launched a new coordinated campaign to kill net neutrality. Speaking on Capitol Hill, these front groups took turns decrying the evils of the principle of a fair and unbiased Internet.
LULACHispanic Leadership Fund, which is funded by AT&T, called Net Neutrality "Obamacare for the Internet." Americans for Prosperity -- a corporate front group founded by oil billionaire David Koch but also funded by telecom interests -- unveiled a new ad smearing net neutrality as a "government takeover" (the initial ad buy is $1.4 million dollars). And Grover Norquist, representing his "Americans for Tax Reform" corporate front group, said net neutrality is like what China does, "putting policemen on every corner, on the street or on the Internet."
Update: Simon sez, "On its Think Progress blog, the liberal advocacy group announced it had "obtained" a PowerPoint document "which reveals how the telecom industry is orchestrating the latest campaign against Net neutrality" through a pseudo-grassroots effort. The story was echoed on Slashdot, Boing Boing, and innumerable pro-regulation blogs. There's just one problem with Think Progress' claim: It's not, well, accurate. In a case of truth being stranger than astroturf, it turns out that the PowerPoint document was prepared as a class project for a competition in Florida last month. It cost the six students a grand total of $173.95, including $18 for clip art."
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