A World Without Net Neutrality

If you’re a savvy tech­nol­o­gist, you’ve heard a lot about the debate over “net neu­tral­i­ty.” If you’re not, then you should get up to speed on the issue because it could change the face of the web as you know it.

Bill Moy­ers recent­ly put togeth­er an excel­lent pro­gram look­ing at the Faus­t­ian bar­gain that Con­gress might soon be mak­ing. In exchange for giv­ing the tele­phone com­pa­nies an incen­tive to build a fast fiber net­work in the US — some­thing that many oth­er coun­tries already have, and some­thing that the tel­cos promised to build years ago, but did­n’t, despite accept­ing tax breaks — our nation­al rep­re­sen­ta­tives may be primed to let the tel­cos con­trol the future web and oper­ate it as a “toll road.” Under the cur­rent regime, every web site is treat­ed neu­tral­ly, mean­ing
that web sites can dis­trib­ute con­tent at equal speeds and costs to con­tent providers. If things change,
the tel­cos will cre­ate a “fast lane” and a “slow lane” for dis­trib­ut­ing con­tent, and they can use their dis­cre­tion, based on what­ev­er stan­dards they choose, to charge con­tent providers dif­fer­ent rates for using the dif­fer­ent lanes. This will have a whole host of con­se­quences for the future devel­op­ment of the inter­net, chang­ing how com­pa­nies com­pete on the web, how the pace of inno­va­tion pro­gress­es (or not), how you access con­tent, and whether you can access con­tent freely and equal­ly. In short, it will deter­mine whether your cul­ture stays open or not.

There is a lot to this issue, and Moy­ers on Amer­i­ca does a very good job teas­ing apart the issue in this 90 minute exposé that you can find on iTunes (or see the rss feed). The pro­gram’s web site also has a lot of good sup­port­ing infor­ma­tion and is worth a look.

For more infor­ma­tion, you should also see what the ACLU is say­ing about the issue.

by | Permalink | Comments (0) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.