Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Net Neutrality: a stumbling block for conservative opinion?

By now it's fairly obvious to anyone with half a brain that anything the Obama administration does needs to be examined in the context of coming from a group of people that honestly believe Karl Marx and Joseph Stalin had it completely 100% right. Any plan of action suggested by the Obama administration needs to be closely examined and rejected just on the basics of common sense and grade-school learning.

So, when a site reports that Republicans as attacking Net Neutrality, and that an Obama backed FCC is for net neutrality, things need to be looked at with a closer view, because this just doesn't add up. Okay, yes, that site is Daily Tech, and lets be honest here, Daily Tech isn't exactly known for being accurate. The basic problem is, anybody with a lick of sense knows that anything Obama puts forward or backs can't be good for anybody but a dyed in the wool socialist. So, if Obama backing Net Neutrality, there's got to be something catastrophically wrong with the proposal.

Thing is, looking at what ArsTechnica (a site that also has problems with historical accuracy, although engineering accuracy is pretty good) had to say on the recent FCC speech about Net Neutrality, it's hard to figure out exactly what it is Obama wants or is backing that is so bad. I have a feeling that the liberal democrats are using my vocabulary... but not my dictionary. So, lets get a couple of hard-definitions on what exactly the fuss is about.

What is Net Neutrality.

Net Neutrality guarantees that users paying for Internet Access get Internet Access, for whatever they want to access. There are no limitations based on the type of data being transferred. There are only limitations on the amount of information being transferred.

Thing is, by basing Internet Access Price on amount of information, there's a steady, and reliable metric for calculating how much a paying customer owes. Somebody who downloaded 50 gigabytes of information should indeed be paying more than somebody who only downloaded 5gigs of information. Many ISP's don't like the pay by total amount system though... and for good reasons. As Internet Access becomes more ubiquitous across Game Consoles, home computer systems, servers, phones, mobile computing devices, and so on, the amount of over-all information being transferred is going up. Other applications, such as bittorrent, can clog up available bandwith, and just a single computer running a bit-torrent application on a standard internal gigabit network can introduce unbelievable amounts of lag to other applications.

Many ISP's want to separate what users are doing with the amount of data, and control that data. Comcast, for example, has been caught deliberately slowing down the connections of users using peer-to-peer file-sharing applications. Many ISP's also feel that companies like Google should pay the ISP for the high amount of traffic Google generates, not just from people visting Google's Page, but also from the web-crawlers Google uses to index web-pages. The business plan of many of these ISP's is to charge users a higher price to access sites like Google, or to use applications like Bittorrent, changing the price dynamically on what a user does.

This of course sets privacy advocates on fire, and I agree. I don't think an ISP needs to know what I do with my internet connection. It's not that I'm doing anything illegal or wrong, but I other than improving network performance, I don't think an ISP has any business tracking how many times I visit mepislovers.org in a day.

The business plan also sets off business's like Google and Amazon that depend on ubiquitous and universal access to their web-services. Why should an ISP care whether or not a user is accessing www.google.com or www.comcast.net? Unless there is something catastrophically wrong with an ISP's network, such as AT&T's, where money that should have been spent on making the network better... has been spent on securing exclusive portable hardware contracts, ISP's shouldn't really notice any difference between 5gbs of information from one user or another.

I also need to stress that this business plan isn't a flight of fancy. Comcast has already tried metered internet access, and has had customers just walk away in droves. Most of the major ISP's in the US have figured out that users don't want to pay by what they do. Most of the major ISP's also know that unless every-single one of them steps forward at once, and they all do metered internet access, all it's going to take is one start-up offering genuine unfiltered, un-metered, universal access to the internet backbone... and the major ISP's are going to go broke.

Now, I'd like a clear explanation from Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison on where she stands on Net Neutrality. Does she, like me, feel that ISP's have no business tracking user information, much less forcing users to pay for what they do. I'd also like to know what she sees in the Obama backed plan that absolutely horrible...

Other than the whole aspect of having to have the FCC introduce more regulations that really shouldn't be needed to begin with.

Post a Comment