Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Net Neutrality: Can You Dig It?

Most people don’t really know WHAT net neutrality is. Wikipedia defines it as “a principle proposed for user access networks participating in the Internet that advocates no restrictions by Internet Service Providers and governments on content, sites, platforms, on the kinds of equipment that may be attached, and no restrictions on the modes of communication allowed. The principle states that if a given user pays for a certain level of Internet access, and another user pays for the same level of access, then the two users should be able to connect to each other at the subscribed level of access.”

Basically, everyone should pay the same price and be able to connect to the internet at the same speed.

Sounds peaches and cream for the consumer, right?

Not so much.

It seems to me, and I could be could be totally wrong here, that this deal simply reeks of anti-capitalism left wing politics as usual. The surface issues are pretty simple- allow the companies to compete for who is willing to pay the higher price for the faster speed. Supply and demand, right?

Unfortunately, not so simple. There are new networks involved, complicated bills that involve varying degrees of limitations and prohibitions, FCC Regulations, and let’s not forget, Congress. To quote the old joke, If con is the opposite of pro, is Congress the opposite of progress? In this case, it may very well be. But it isn’t for lack of trying. The dizzying amount of thick bills with complex changes in them would slow anyone down. In addition, everyone has an opinion on this, and feels the need to weigh in. If you have ever called any corporation for customer service and had to deal with a ridiculous phone tree, you know what I am talking about.

My point of view comes from being raised a Reagan Republican by my dear father. Less government, please, and pass the potatoes. Congress needs to step back, let these companies work to a compromise, and present a workable, shovel-ready compromise to the FCC. Give the people what they want – access to the internet, and for those who want faster access, they can pay more. Yes, even in this day and age there are people who use old fashioned dial-up internet. I found out after a recent move that yes Virginia, there was no high speed access at my house. I had to pay $500 to have a satellite company install a dish and for a lousy 200 MB a day. And I pay $60 a month for it! There is a market for people to capitalize on internet- I’d gladly pay more to download songs for RockBand or watch more than 4 YouTube videos.

The FCC needs the authority as well to start the ball rolling. So perhaps, Congress, you can pass a bill to that effect, and let the chips fall where they may.

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