[ View the story "Net neutrality 2/28" on Storify] Net neutrality 2/28
AJAMStream· Fri, Feb 28 2014 13:02:28
Open Internet advocates were dealt a blow in January when a federal court
a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rule that that required Internet service providers to treat all traffic equally, an idea known as "net neutrality." Coupled with the recent news of Comcast's plan to
Time Warner Cable, the ruling left many
the future of equal Internet access across the country.
The court's decision gives Internet service providers an opportunity to experiment with new business models, but that may come at a price for their customers. One option being floated is to
the Internet like cable television - create content packages and bundles to offer different services at different rates. With Netflix and YouTube occupying
of Internet traffic in North America, some
the real issue is not about treating internet traffic equally, but ensuring that the network capacity can meet demands.
On Twitter, entrepreneur Marc Andreessen asked how Internet providers should deal with changing demands, such as streaming video.
@mattyglesias Suppose Netflix traffic grows 3x? 10x? 100x? Would Comcast still have to eat the cost of back-end connections all on its own?Marc Andreessen
@bitingtea @mattyglesias Too much of net neutrality debate assumes relatively static market. Static amount of bandwidth, static # of uses.Marc Andreessen
@bitingtea @mattyglesias Strict net neutrality = Internet version of Marxism. Sounds great; problematic consequences.Marc Andreessen
But consumers overwhelmingly
they would not stay with a provider that treated high-bandwidth services differently.
Unfortunately for those respondents, the ability to switch providers is not an option for many across the country who are serviced by only one broadband provider.
Regardless of competition, Internet has become a fully integrated part of the lives of most Americans.
of U.S. adults use the Internet. 53 percent of those users say they would have a "very hard" time giving up their connectivity, with a majority saying that the Internet was essential for their jobs. In a blog post, former FCC commissioner Michael Copps explained what the erosion of access could mean for already marginalized groups.
Increasingly, people understand that the Internet is where we go to find jobs, pursue our education, care for our health, manage our finances, conserve energy, interact socially and— importantly—conduct our civic dialogue. All of which is to say that the Internet is central to our lives and our future. Anyone not having these opportunities is going to be consigned to second-class citizenship.commonblog.com
Some communities across the country are taking internet access into their own hands. Cities like
boast some of the fastest Internet in the country by treating the service like any other utility. For less than $70 a month, residents in Chattanooga can have access to a fiber-optic connection that transfers data at one gigabit per second - 50 times the average speed of the rest of the country. But cable companies are taking note, with some lobbyists introducing state
that would limit municipalities from investing in their own broadband services.
Is equal access to Internet an issue? If so, who should be responsible for providing it? The Stream's community members shared their thoughts.
@AJAMStream if we owned the fiber, we could charge corps suff rent to provide free net to all &provide for direct democracyDan Castro
@AJAMStream in the 21st century, Yes. It is critical that everyone has the ability to connect, collaborate, and educate with othersBrian Virgil
@julito77 @ajamstream Little guys would be compelled to pay to get preferred access just like the big guys—how would that help innovation?Nathan Payne
@julito77 @AJAMStream, If a fwy is too congested, should we limit access? No! Net neutrality is essential. Technology will find a way.Eddie G