Congress seek to hand the internet over to the telecommunications corporations. Allowing the addition of what would be in essence “shelving fees” for websites. That is complete nonsense on an internet that can expand without a practical limit. The story slips under the radar of major news. But, blogs are kicking up the usual shitstorm. SaveTheInternet, an activist group for net neutrality (put on your alarmism goggles) describes it so:

Congress is pushing a law that would abandon the Internet’s First Amendment — a principle called “Network neutrality” that prevents companies like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast from deciding which Web sites work best for you — based on what site pays them the most. Your local library shouldn’t have to outbid Barnes & Noble for the right to have its Web site open quickly on your computer.

Though, still, if the bill were to get passed, then it would punish everyone but the telcoms. For those seeking more information, the key word for this hot topic is “net neutrality” Also, the possibly-informative wikipedia entry. (Previously)

  1. SN says:

    The press is treating this like it’s a new concept. Actually it is very old. Phone companies are common carriers. That means they have to carry all phone calls and cannot discriminate certain types of calls. The phone companies were able to profit for decades while being common carriers. I don’t see why the internet should be any different.

  2. gquaglia says:

    I’m waiting for telcos to block certain website if they don’t pay their tribute.

  3. Mike Novick says:

    What is this law that Congress is pushing? All your other links make it look like these SaveTheInternet folks are making stuff up. If it’s already happening, then why should be worried about a law Congress might pass to make it happen?

  4. atherix says:

    An ISP that blocks certain web sites will put itself at a significant competitive disadvantage. Let’s say that Qwest (my current ISP, a telco) decides to block access to Google, because Google refuses to pay some imaginary access fee. As a customer, I would find this completely unacceptable and complain loudly. A competing service (Comcast, also in my area) could take advantage of Qwest’s stupidity and offer unfiltered broadband access.

    ISP service providers (like Qwest) are joined at the hip with content providers (like Google). An ISP that starts limiting access to content will ultimately push itself out of the market. If the big telcos want to hang themselves with a rope supplied by Congress so be it!

  5. The Tea Man says:

    The internet has never been neutral. Government legislating against multi-speed services like IPTV will mean that your cable monopoly stays a cable monopoly forever.


  6. SN says:

    “The internet has never been neutral. “

    Actually, it has always been neutral until very recently. And besides, the phone companies have always been neutral. Why should the net be any different?!

    “Government legislating against multi-speed services…”

    This is not about ISPs offering tiered services to end users. Next time at least attempt to understand what’s going on before commenting!

  7. Gary Marks says:

    Every defense of this tiering plan by telcos that I’ve seen so far seems to have an illogical basis. They try to label suppliers of information as “users” of the internet backbone. For instance, they paint Google as a user who should be paying fees to send their information across the internet, when the true user was the person who initiated the transaction by requesting the information in the first place.

    The term “shelving fee” is a very good metaphor, and although there may be initial resistance by a lot of information suppliers initially, they should be able to use it to their advantage. The ability to buy preferential treatment gives a boost to the established, profitable companies by helping to erect a “barrier to equality” for startup competitors who can’t afford the fees.

    The sky may not fall, but I don’t think this is a positive direction for the internet to take.

  8. James says:

    #4 You’re so correct. There is HUGE competition in the Internet industry. Look at your phone book. You’ll find dozens of advertisers providing Hi-speed Internet access. If somebody were to block Google, they would be pushed out of the market in an instant. However, what if they were to block a lesser-known site (the kind you would never find without Google) that they don’t like, for political censorship purposes?

    These telecoms are expert con artists. They say that the best way to eliminate spam is to charge per Email. There are other anti-spam approaches, the simplest of which is to simply delete it. They just see spam as an excuse to charge more. Nor do they have a right to charge Website “shelving fees,” because we, the comsumer, pay to access them.

    I think it needs to legislated that the big telecoms cannot eavsdrop, censor, or in any way intefere with the free flow of data, as described in the First Amendment. “Congress shall make NO LAW respecting the Establishment of Religion or prohibiting the Free Exercise thereof; or abridging the Freedom of Speech, or of the Press, or the Right of the People to Peaceably Assemble, and to Petition the Government for a Redress of Grievances.” Those are, I believe, the most important functions of the Internet, and with the “living, growing Constitution” theory, one could substitute “Congress” for ” the telecoms” and apply the entire thing specifically to the Internet.

  9. Per says:

    This is why i want internet governed by an international commety, not by american congress. This would break anti-trust laws and internationaly fair trade agreements.

  10. Seth says:

    I’ve always tried to live by the rule that “Everyone votes with their money”. If people just walk away from ISPs that block sites, traffic shape, or charge extra for services that should be free then things will change.

    The same problem exists in the world of media. Movie and music people never wanted MP3s or any type of downloadable music but services like Napster changed that. They saw a large chunk of revenue being lost so services like iTunes were created. Businesses and most politicians only understand money and if we keep lining their pockets with the stuff then they won’t change a thing.

    I say that we all starting pirating our content until a trip to the movies doesn’t require a loan. There is no need for someone who works 8 hours a day for 5.15 an hour having to shell out 9 bucks a pop for a movie when the star of the flick made 15 million for making the thing. I am proud to have over 700 gigs of pirated content.

  11. OvenMaster says:

    “This is why i want internet governed by an international commety, not by american congress. This would break anti-trust laws and internationaly fair trade agreements.”

    Haven’t you ever noticed how the US regularly and consistently ignores international law in favor of its own? I have.

  12. James says:

    #13 Would you mind please explaining?


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