Net Neutrality Links
I’ve added these links to the Net Neutrality Page today.
PBS tech columnist Robert Cringely has penned an intriguing (and I think important) piece called Ã¢â¬ÅIf we build it they will come: ItÃ¢â¬â¢s time to own our own last mile.Ã¢â¬Â ItÃ¢â¬â¢s apparently based on conversations heÃ¢â¬â¢s had with Bob Frankston, who years ago wrote the VisiCalc program (which Cringely describes as Ã¢â¬Åthe first killer appÃ¢â¬Â) and who last year authored an essay entitled Ã¢â¬ÅConnectivity is a Utility.Ã¢â¬Â Cringely describes Frankston as Ã¢â¬Åone of the smartest people I speak to.Ã¢â¬Â . . .
To Bob [Frankston, the programmer who wrote VisiCalc] the issues surrounding Net Neutrality come down to billability and infrastructure. While saying they are doing us favors, ISPs are really offering us services they can bill for. Nothing is aimed at helping us, while everything is aimed at creating a billable event. Take WiFi hotspots, for example. Why should the telephone or cable company care about who connects to my WiFi access point? They are my bits, not the ISP’s. I paid for them. If I can download gigabytes of pornography why can’t I share my hotspot with someone walking down the street wanting to check his e-mail? Frankston’s analogy for this is accusing someone of stealing your porch light by using it to read a street sign.
It isn’t about service, it is about creating billable events, that’s all. And billable events, by definition, are things we have others do because we are unable or unwilling to do for ourselves. So a Verizon or a Comcast does us a favor, they say, by licensing rights to a movie and allowing us to buy or rent it over the Internet. We could buy the rights ourselves, but who would know where to even go? And wouldn’t Verizon, as a big buyer, necessarily get a better price? When you have a preferred or exclusive provider versus a competitive marketplace, prices are always higher, not lower. In this case the ISP isn’t doing us a favor, they are forcing us to buy from them something that we might well be able to buy from someone else for a lot less. . . .
The “Net Neutrality” campaign – which created little excitement except on the outer fringes of the web – suggests that the left is now just as capable of being haunted by paranoid fantasies as the right.
What the internet has achieved, with its twisty maze of echo chambers all alike, is a rapid acceleration of this paranoid discourse, which expels nuanced and complex reasoning. Let’s have a look what was being written this week, after the Senate failed to pass those “Neutrality” provisions, as these hundreds of Nation States of One broadcast their distress signals.
“This could mean the death of small internet businesses,” wrote one MySpace blogger, quoted on CNET. A Republican opponent of the “Net Neutrality” legislation was graced, on the same site, with this riposte:
“Thanks, Jim, for being a fascist and promoting fascism in our country.”
–ME “Liz” Strauss
NET NEUTRALITY PAGE