Aug 20, 2010

Great LTE on Net Neutrality

Let the FCC regulate the ‘neutrality’ of the Internet 

I read Mr. Jose Marquez’s letter of Aug. 9 (“‘Net Neutrality’ rules are wolves in sheep’s clothing”) on the subject of net neutrality with astonishment that someone who had taken the time in New York to write a letter to the Sun Herald could be so unfortunately mistaken.

Network neutrality is the principle that the Internet should remain the way it is now — Internet service providers (ISPs) like Verizon and AT&T shouldn’t discriminate (by, for example, slowing down or cutting off access) in providing Web access to different Web sites or Web services.That’s it!

As an aside, much of the infrastructure that ISPs own was paid for with government subsidies.

You and I pay an ISP money monthly to get access to the Internet at a certain speed and for a certain amount of data transfer, or bandwidth.Google (which owns YouTube), Facebook and everyone else who provides a Web site or other service also pays an ISP commensurate to their usage.

Larger companies like Google are paying hundreds of millions of dollars in bandwidth costs, and have often themselves bought up miles and miles of “dark fiber” — cable that had already been laid, but wasn’t being used. Thousands of miles of these unused cables are still out there.

The Internet is getting along fine right now providing YouTube and other streaming video services to millions. Even if it weren’t, ISPs are sitting on billions of dollars in profit and are being offered more subsidies to expand their infrastructure. They’d like to increase that profit by instead restricting access — imagine a model where companies must pay more money to get into the “Basic Internet” package, and you must pay more money for the “Internet Plus” package to see the Web sites that couldn’t afford that.

The courts say the FCC has the authority to regulate this, and they should.

Ocean Springs

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