Net Neutrality 101 – It’s All About Access

Something I’ve been starting to care about recently is the issue of Net Neutrality. (It’s becoming so important that I think it deserves capital letters.)

Whether you are a media producer, actively fighting for democracy, or an at-home user, this affects you and will continue to affect you.

In case you don’t know what Net Neutrality is all about, imagine your service provider, such as Rogers, Bell, AT&T, etc. getting to tell you where you can go on the Internet. So, let’s say you sign up at home to get Internet from Bell. Bell would offer you “dozens” of Internet sites you could visit. And nowhere else. Your. Internet. Experience. Would. Be. That. Limited. And the funny thing is (and not the haw-haw kind of funny) is that these companies are not hiding it. If you do a Google search on the issue, you’ll find several press releases coming from within and outside of the industry.

Here is an excellent video talking about this and other related issues. It’s 10 minutes. I found it worth every second.

Other links on Net Neutrality (many suggest things that everyone can do and/or have listservs and newsletters you can sign up for):

Someone just sent me the following message, and should be considered before you read the rest of my post: “The original posting on this was un-sourced and, I think, inaccurate in regards to a broad conspiracy among ISPs to shut down the free Internet. In the US and I think in Canada as well, this would be a clear violation of telecom legislation. That being said, it is also clear that ISPs will continue to attempt to limit and shape Internet traffic in order to maximize their revenues.”

And now with the rest of my original post . . .

I also subscribe to feeds from Mostly Water, and I read this, which really supports the notion from that YouTube video that service providers want the Internet to act more like a television service and only offering “dozens of sites” (wow, we will be so severely limited if this happens!):

Death of Free Internet is Imminent: Canada Will Become Test Case
By Kevin Parkinson – July 20, 2008
[Canada] is being used as a test case to drastically change the delivery of Internet service forever. The change will be so radical that it has the potential to send us back to the horse and buggy days of information sharing and access…[There is a] diabolical plot by *Bell Canada* and *Telus*, to begin charging per site fees on most Internet sites. The plan is to convert the Internet into a cable-like system, where customers sign up for specific web sites, and then pay to visit sites beyond a cutoff point.

Read the full article here.

(Links updated November 2013)

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5 thoughts on “Net Neutrality 101 – It’s All About Access

  1. It really is a very serious issue and we need to act now to show the Telecoms we won’t tolerate a limited internet.

    I am part of a new campaign to switch to the first Telecom to take the Net Neutrality Pledge. It is a new type of campaign because people can join the campaign without switching but once the first Telecom takes the Pledge (as long as they provide service in your area) then all the members will switch. If you’re interested check it out here: http://www.thepoint.com/campaigns/first-telecom-to-take-the-net-neutrality-pledge-wins-our-business

    Thanks and we want to help the spread the word about keeping an open internet.

  2. To the extend that there is or might be such a ‘plot’ amongst major ISPs, I suspect that it is or would be – will be? – much more insidious than suggested in the article to which you refer. The Internet is simply too big, too unruly.

    I suspect you’ll start to see two things starting to happen:

    1) Remember when ISPs had their own ‘gateways’ (much along the line of the AOL model) to the Web? I suspect that you’ll start to see ISPs reverting to such a model because of the (increasing) amount of A/V content on the Web, which makes life easy for the less tech-savvy amongst us (which makes up what? – 95% of the population? – even the supposedly tech-savvy kiddies aren’t as tech-savvy as people seem to give them credit for being . . . ).

    2) Because of the increased load on available bandwidth, you’ll start to see more and more ISPs stoop to data shaping, as we saw a couple of months ago with the small ISP in southern Ontario which was leasing its bandwidth from Bell: if you throttle the bandwidth to ‘non-privileged’ parts of the Internet, you can dedicate more bandwidth to your ‘preferred’ content providers. (As an aside: I’m actually curious as to stats in re. P2P usage and how much bandwidth it actually takes up. . . .)

    From a business perspective – further monetising Internet services and allowing for the creation of partnerships between ISPs and content providers – , it makes perfect sense. From the perspective of many users, it makes perfect sense. To the rest of us, it’s a disaster in the making. . . .

    Ultimately, it’s an infrastructure issue: the backbone of the Internet just can’t handle the demands being placed on it. You can see it on Monday mornings in particular. . . .

  3. Pingback: MM - Upcoming actions for Omar Khadr

  4. Pingback: Google Steps Up to the New Neutrality Plate « Destination: Journey

  5. Pingback: SaveOurNet.org calling for action on Net Neutrality « Destination: Journey

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