Greg Baugues

Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality is not about government takeover of the Internet. It is about Comcast being able to say “If you don’t pay us more money, we will slow your website to a crawl.”

Comcast has been losing cable TV customers by the tens-of-thousands. Fortunately for them, they also happen to own the pipes through which their competitors’ content is delivered (and they will soon acquire Time Warner, the country’s second largest ISP). Ending net neutrality is a way for Comcast to make up for those lost revenues. It is a way to stifle the competition. It is a way to retain control of how media is delivered into your home.

The Internet has always been a level playing field. Whether you are two guys in a garage or a billion dollar company, the net is neutral in deciding whose traffic gets delivered faster. Losing net neutrality would be, without hyperbole, the end of the Internet as we know it.

Here’s an artist’s rendition of what the end of net neutrality might look like (let me know if you know who made this):

Don’t think Comcast would do such a thing? This explanation of net neutrality from The Oatmeal is one of the best out there. Please click through and read the whole thing, but if you don’t, this is the most important part:

I understand your skepticism of anything that feels like a government takeover of the Internet. And for those of you who are inclined to be skeptical of anything President Obama announces support for, I understand that too. But please don’t let some of the world’s largest corporations take advantage of your skepticism. When a politician says “net neutrality is the Obamacare of the Internet,” he’s not trying to move you in the direction of a rational decision — he’s misdirecting your legitimate fear and frustration to serve the corporations who put him in office.

This is a boring technical topic with a boring name. It’s easier to say “The President who I don’t trust likes this thing, and the news outlets I do trust tell me that I shouldn’t.” But please, take some time to learn more about net neutrality before reaching an opinion on it. This is about as clear a case of “what’s good for big business” vs. “what’s good for the little guy” as we’ve had in modern history.