Posts tagged post 10

Net Neutrality – [.equalizing.us.all.]

Net neutrality was a term known by maybe one or two of the 95 of us in class. After the 1st week of discussion about it, we understood what companies were trying to do. By the 2nd week, we were furious by what this meant to our access on the internet. And by the 3rd week, this term came up in my Internet Survey & Research class. When Bernie asked our class, “So who here has heard about net neutrality?”, about half the class snickered as we remembered the lectures and videos that we were shown in our Mass Comm class. Bernie was surprised we knew so much, and happy that we seemed passionate about the topic. I think Ian would be surprised to see how much we actually took from these net neutrality lessons, realizing “we take a lot for granted”.[1]

We think back to the early 1900s and see how controlled their life was. They had social classes, dress codes, and society rules enforced by law. We watch movies from this time and seem to think life back then was so strict and reserved. Then we come back to what we have now in the 21st century, and think we have so much freedom. Little do we realize, our lives today are more controlled than ever before.  

Simply put, we understand that “everybody’s website gets the same speed and quality,”[2] meaning every person has equal rights on the Internet. No matter who you are, or what service provider you use, your access to sites is exactly the same. The elimination of net neutrality would be like allowing only certain people into the library to read books, or others into an arcade to play games. It is a shame to think that these network providers will be deciding what “Web sites go fast or slow and which won’t load at all.” [1] The internet is known as “content that is streamed to the user when the user demands” [3] but is slowly losing that meaning as net neutrality becomes a more serious issue day after day.

If we lose net neutrality, big companies like AT&T, Bell, Time Warner and Verizon will “use their power to control your internet connection by degrading or blocking access to other providers.”[4] What seems like a valid reason for these companies to restrict who uses what sites on the Internet? All I have to say is: MONEY. To me, eliminating the same access for everyone is what cable companies have already done in the US. As of February, cable companies “will stop broadcasting on analog airwaves and begin broadcasting only in digital.”[5] This means that you have to purchase the digital boxes, along with what package you want. Depending on what you like, decides what package you buy. The same thing will happen with the Internet. You will have different packages to purchase through certain providers, depending on if you use the internet for online banking, email, Facebook, games and so on. Companies love money in their pockets, and this is another opportunity for them to jump on.     

Myself, along with any sane person who uses the internet, and is not part of one of the major phone and cable companies, hope net neutrality is here to stay. The internet was a fabulous invention that was created for everyone. J.C.R Licklider had a vision of creating a “galactic network” in the early 60s, which is what the internet has become. He saw his idea as “the greatest boon to scientific and technical communication, and to the teaching and learning of science and technology, since the invention of writing on a flat surface.”[6] I couldn’t agree more, and the idea of the Internet being taken away from me is something I don’t want to imagine. We are definitely weaving ourselves into one tangled web.

[1] Frequently Asked Questions. Save the Internet. 24 Nov. 2008 <http://savetheinternet.com/=faq&gt;.

 

[2] Save the Internet! 18 Dec. 2006. YouTube. 24 Nov. 2008 <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwt0xuocvie&gt;.

 

[3] Lessig, Lawrence. Free Culture: The Nature and Future of Creativity. New York: Penguin (Non-Classics), 2005.

 

[4] Net Neutrality. 21 Apr. 2006. YouTube. 24 Nov. 2008 <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9jhon0ew8u&gt;.

 

[5] The Digital TV Transition. 14 Nov. 2008. Federal Communications Commision. 24 Nov. 2008 <http://www.dtv.gov/&gt;.

 

[6] Relevant History.” Weblog post. Quote of the Day. 24 May 2007. 24 Nov. 2008 <http://askpang.typepad.com/relevant_history/2007/05/quote_of_the_da.html&gt;.

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