What Could a Non-Neutral Internet Look Like?

Ok, it's March, 2008.  You go to your computer and open your Verizon-supertier browser, and everything comes at you with blazing speed.  You access your bank, NBC news, Andrew Sullivan's blog through Time.com, and check your email.  You watch the last five minutes of Scary Movie 7, which you fell asleep watching the night before.  Pretty cool.

Then you remember your best friend set up a new blog about her band and asked you to check it out.  It's kind of irritating, because she set it up on the slow tier.  You minimize the Verizon browser, open up Firefox, and type in the web address.  It takes thirty seconds to load.  Ugh.  The site's fine, and there are some cute pictures of her band performing in a dive bar.  You click on a song, and the browser begins loading the first minute of the song.  After twenty seconds, you curse the fact that she didn't pay to be on Verizon's internet, and you close the browser.  You're even thinking of canceling your slow-tier internet account, since shelling out the $45/month for that plus the $29/month for Verizon super-tier isn't worth it.

Welcome to a non-neutral internet.  


The net neutrality fight is coming to the Senate this week, with the Commerce Committee set to mark up the bill on Thursday.  If you live in one of these states, call your Senator.  We need strong net neutrality provisions in any telecom reform bill, and those that came out in the second draft over the weekend are not acceptable.

Chairman Ted Stevens (AK), (202) 224-3004
John McCain (AZ), (202) 224-2235
Conrad Burns (MT), Main: 202-224-2644
Trent Lott (MS), (202) 224-6253
Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX), 202-224-5922
Gordon H. Smith (OR), 202.224.3753
John Ensign (NV), (202) 224-6244
George Allen (VA), (202) 224-4024
John E. Sununu (NH), (202) 224-2841
Jim DeMint (SC), 202-224-6121
David Vitter (LA),(202) 224-4623
Co-Chairman Daniel K. Inouye (HI), 202-224-3934
John D. Rockefeller (WV), (202) 224-6472
John F. Kerry (MA), (202) 224-2742
Barbara Boxer (CA), (202) 224-3553
Bill Nelson (FL), 202-224-5274
Maria Cantwell (WA), 202-224-3441
Frank R. Lautenberg (NJ), (202) 224-3224
E. Benjamin Nelson (NE), (202) 224-6551
Mark Pryor (AR), (202) 224-2353

Tags: net neutrality (all tags)



Re: What Could a Non-Neutral Internet Look Like?

You're leaving out the most compelling scenario:  you open your browser, and type in http://www.mydd.com.  After a moment, you get a blank page reading "404 - File Not Found."  You try DailyKos.  Same result.  Democratic Underground, Bartcop, Buzzflash, Talking Points Memo, MoveOn, even the Democratic Party's offical site...all have been blocked somewhere along the line.  Meanwhile Fox News, Free Republic, and the official Republican site get through just fine.

We need to realize this isn't just about speed.  Eliminating Net Neutrality means that the "big pipes" get to decide whether or not something gets through, period. And if you don't think the telecoms would censor political access in exchange for some sweetheart deals with the current administration, I know a bridge you might be interested in purchasing.

by JDWalley 2006-06-19 10:22AM | 0 recs
Re: What Could a Non-Neutral Internet Look Like?

In that case I'd buy the bridge you're selling in a heartbeat.  The scenario you're describing is pure tin-foil hat, head-in-the-sand fiction.  The idea that an internet provider would block websites of a certain political viewpoint is almost so unbelievable it's laughable.  The PR ramifications from such a move would be so negative and swift that the company would be out of business in days.

What you are describing is the same "the sky-is-falling" charge that people said would happen when AOL/Time-Warner merged and people said AOL would block you from accessing Newsweek in favor of Time Magazine and other Time-Warner publications/services.  Nothing of the sort even came close to happening and nothing of the sort is going to happen this time.

by 4 a better internet 2006-06-19 11:07AM | 0 recs
Re: What Could a Non-Neutral Internet Look Like?

You have no credibility here.  When you lie, people stop believing you.

by Matt Stoller 2006-06-19 11:19AM | 0 recs
Re: What Could a Non-Neutral Internet Look Like?

Matt - I was concerned about your comments at YearlyKos regarding your knowledge of telecommunications policy.  I don't think we should broadcast ignorance when advocating in areas that are incredibly complex.  

by dem1 2006-06-19 11:33AM | 0 recs
Re: What Could a Non-Neutral Internet Look Like?

I appreciate your concern.  Why not use your real name instead of dem1?

by Matt Stoller 2006-06-19 12:51PM | 0 recs
Re: What Could a Non-Neutral Internet Look Like?

I prefer it that way.  I'm not attacking you - just concerned about that statement undermining your argument.  And since I don't know your background, thought I'd ask.  Do you have any telecommunications background?  This stuff seems incredibly complex.

by dem1 2006-06-19 01:00PM | 0 recs
Re: What Could a Non-Neutral Internet Look Like?

How much of a telecom background do you need? :)

by LnGrrrR 2007-04-24 11:54AM | 0 recs

That is a load of crap. I am a Software developer for a major telecom and I can tell you from personal experience that right now the Internet Service Providers can and do watch everything that travels on their network pipes and routinely shutdown traffic that they find objectionable, such as Peer 2 Peer file sharing tranfers (that may or may not be transferring illegal content) or even things as simple as hosting an FTP or web server on your home PC. They slow down traffic when they want to as well, and it's virtually impossible to detect unless you are extremely tech savvy.

No enforced open internet means that the current trend of slowing down or terminating unwanted connections by ISPs WILL continue and it WILL get worse. Users will be at the mercy of their ISPs and the it is the ISPs who will choose what content is provided and how fast, period.

by TimThe Terrible 2006-06-19 11:20AM | 0 recs
by maladiaz 2007-02-28 03:09AM | 0 recs
Re: What Could a Non-Neutral Internet Look Like?

Does it mean that?  The COPE Act codifies the FCC proscription against blocking sites.  How does that square?

by dem1 2006-06-19 11:28AM | 0 recs
Re: What Could a Non-Neutral Internet Look Like?

You didn't want that proscription in there.

It doesn't apparently proscribe slowing sites so that they are effectively blocked.

by Matt Stoller 2006-06-19 12:49PM | 0 recs
Re: What Could a Non-Neutral Internet Look Like?

I thought that was the 2nd FCC principle - no degradation of services.  I'm assuming that a deliberate slow down would constitute degradation.

by dem1 2006-06-19 01:02PM | 0 recs
No degradation of services

So all sites will be equal, but some will be more equal than others?

by antiHyde 2006-06-19 04:06PM | 0 recs
Re: What Could a Non-Neutral Internet Look Like?

Matt, as someone who is part of this debate with the Hands Off the Internet coalition, I just want to point out that your hypothetical example is way, way off base.

The scenario of a blog taking 30-seconds to load is ridiculous and patently absurd on its face.  What exactly do you think the regular tier is going to be, 28.8 dial-up? Of course not.  Would the higher tier the telecoms companies be faster than the regular tier? Definitely.  But the regular, or "slow" tier as you call it would be the exact same speeds we all use now (i.e.  T3/cable/broadband connections).  I use the internet everyday, and it never takes more than a few seconds for a blog to load.  The situation you are describing is pure fiction and seems more like an attempt to scare people than a realistic example.

by 4 a better internet 2006-06-19 11:01AM | 0 recs

"But the regular, or "slow" tier as you call it would be the exact same speeds we all use now (i.e.  T3/cable/broadband connections)."

Oh really? And you have written sworn statements to this effect from the CEO's of major telecoms? I didn't think so. Heck, even if you did I'd say they weren't worth the paper they were printed on. I have first hand experience that Internet service providers are currently jumping over one another to further implement this so called 'tiered' internet methodology as fast as possible. They not only can watch everything that travels along their pipes, they do and they already systematically slow down certain types of connections even periodically resetting a person's DSL/cable modem to make sure low paying private individuals can't finish long large downloads to free up bandwidth for the higher paying business class customers.

Want an unreliable crappy internet connection that doesn't work at even one tenth the speed as advertized unless you visit the sites and participate in the types of activites your ISP condones? Then sign on to whatever line of BS Hands off the interenet coalition wants to feed you, because that is what the Telecoms want.

by TimThe Terrible 2006-06-19 11:31AM | 0 recs
Re: Nonsense.

What's to stop people from just switching providers?

by dem1 2006-06-19 12:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Nonsense.

The fact that most people have only one or two choices in broadband access, which your lobbying has helped ensure.

by Matt Stoller 2006-06-19 12:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Nonsense.

My lobbying?  What are you talking about?  I'm just trying to get up to speed on the facts.

by dem1 2006-06-19 01:03PM | 0 recs
Re: What Could a Non-Neutral Internet Look Like?

There are some that really like the idea of assuming corporate control of our Internet is a good idea.  Of course, those same people are certainly U.S. citizens.  Were they citizens of any other country in the world, they would understand that corporate control of our Internet is the last option to be considered.  

Our Internet is not an Internet for carrying on corporate business.  Never has been.  It was designed for communication, and, as a means of communication, we all can enjoy the infrastructure, in the same way we all can enjoy the right to communicate.  When that right to communicate is taken over by one giant telecommunications corporation, one that is dependent on maximizing profits, the risk of abuse climbs instantly to absolute certainty.

Americans need to understand that the telcos make sure the lobbyists explain to our elected representatives that there are two Internets.  One Internet is used for controlled creativity and innovation, called, Internet2.  The other Internet is our Internet, and it is specifically called, "commodity Internet".  It is used for economic growth and prosperity.  It can't happen, unless corporate control of our Internet is assured, by not voting for net neutrality.

by tompoe 2006-06-19 12:41PM | 0 recs
Re: What Could a Non-Neutral Internet Look Like?

Great, I gotta call Gordon Smith.  What a way to start my week.

I surely hope he gets a Dem challenger.  Sigh.

by smugbug 2006-06-19 01:04PM | 0 recs
Has anyone seen the weekly standard article?

What to make of this article? http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Pu blic/Articles/000/000/012/348yjwfo.asp

 I know the weekly standard is a despicable rag but it's an interesting idea.  Is using eminent domain against the telco's even better than network neutrality?  I don't know what to make of it.  Would it really create enough competition?  I wonder what silicon valley thinks of that.

by medleysoul 2006-06-19 02:46PM | 0 recs
Re: What Could a Non-Neutral Internet Look Like?



A funny video blog advancing ways for congressional races to leverage net neurality www.betterbadnews.com

As voters begin to understand  that abolishing net neutrality means they can no longer choose which search engine to use on their computer without paying an additional fee, congressional representatives voting to abolish net neutrality are likeley to be abolished themselves.

The BetterBadNews panel propose extending the debate over net neutrality to include the war on electile disfunction.

Is your Senator planning to vote to abolish net neutrality and allow internet service providers to discriminate against consumers demanding  equal access under the law?

by BetterBadNews 2006-06-19 05:36PM | 0 recs


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