A Neutral Perspective

Net Neutrality is a subject of concern among many avid internet users today. It is a term that means Internet Service Providers shouldn’t be allowed to dictate what pages you surf on the web. They shouldn’t be able to try to persuade you into switching from Google to Yahoo because, for some reason, Google is not loading .And why is that happening? Because your ISP is purposefully making it difficult for you to get on certain pages that they are not affiliated with.

The major companies causing the fuss are Verizon, Comcast, AT&T and the FCC. The companies are attempting to create a monopoly over certain sites that would more or less put an end to surfing freely on the internet. Which would seem like an easy problem to solve, if In 2011, Congress had not rejected the internet neutrality rules.

Like the “Ask a Ninja” man said: “It’s like replacing the girl at Hot Dog on a Stick making lemonade with a hairy man squirting bacon into a cup who looks like Robin Williams, but a less funny version.”
youtube.com/watch?v=H69eCYcDcuQ

So when you put it like that, sure. It seems a lot worse. But I’ve got to ask – Is it really fair to compare alternative search engines such as Bing! and Yahoo to a hairy, less funny version of Robin Williams squirting bacon into a cup?

I may not be picky, but in my experience, they all do the same things.

As Henry Blodget says in the article “All Bits Are Not Created Equal,” try comparing it to a real life scenario. It doesn’t seem as ridiculous.

“Imagine if the Post Office (or FedEx, or UPS, or DHL, or any trucking or transport company) were legally prohibited from charging more for delivering some stuff sooner than other stuff. Ridiculous, right?”
http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/All-Bits-Are-NOT-Created-Equal-You-NET-2385463.php#ixzz19wK8F3RL

Of course, I realize the issue at hand is larger than search engines. It’s about your rights to surf the web, which gets down to the principle of the matter. But even so, I do think that congress may have bigger fish to fry than making sure we only use Google instead of – god forbid – Yahoo, or, dare I say — Bing.

So I’m only going to ask you to consider the unpopular opinion. How do you feel about the regulations? Do you think this is something that congress needs to action on, now?

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23 thoughts on “A Neutral Perspective

  1. I see what you are saying and I get your point but I still think there needs to be regulations in place. Yes, the post office does offer faster service to those who pay more much like Comcast will have varying speeds of internet at different prices which I don’t have a problem with. The difference is that it is other companies paying the ISPs to block and discriminate not the people who are the ones that should matter most. I’m not saying it’s something that Congress should act upon right this second but it is something that needs to be looked at soon into the future. I think what “Ask a Ninja” was trying to say is why should we watch what they want us to watch it should be the other way around? One of the things that bothers me most is when I install software that tries to change my homepage to something other than Google which to me is a form of this discrimination. The more I see things like that the more I think these laws should be in place.

    • I hate when my homepage gets changed, too!
      Also, I know what Ask A Ninja was saying, I was just trying to play up on one of his points that was a little dramatic.

  2. I feel that there needs to be regulations, because what’s happening isn’t right. People should be able to use whatever search engine they want, nobody else should be able to control that. Obviously comparing this to what above about the Robin Williams video isn’t necessarily right, people were probably just trying to get their point across. I do believe that this is something that congress needs to act on and relatively soon too, because if they don’t then either the problem will stay the same or it will get worse. In my opinion I think it will get worse. If they are trying to control what search engine you use now, what can we expect in the future? In order to avoid anything worse than this happening the government needs to really take the time and try to put an end to all of this.

    • I see what you are saying. And I agree, it is important. I only meant it in relativity to the importance of other things congress should be acting on immediately.

  3. After reading the other post on this topic, and now yours, I do see the other side of it. I think the internet was this amazing cheap thing that we all got used to and will always feel to some degree obligated to be able to use its services without having to pay extra fees or things of that nature. At the same time why is it so hard to have something in society not be ruined by corporate greed squeezing the life (mainly money) out of anything that was good. Sure there are absolutely bigger fish to fry, more pressing, important issues to be worrying about in our government no question. But I do believe it is something that needs to be protected before it is too late.

  4. Personally, I dont like the regulations but right now there is nothing going on to stop them. Then again, I dont really care if someone is monitoring the websites I’m going on because they are very normal and public. I also think that if google isnt working I dont usually go to another browser I just log off. I think government has a lot of issues going on right now with security so I dont think it’s far from being talked up upon in upcoming government discussions.

    • That’s an interesting perspective. With people like you, their plan to make money wouldn’t exactly work, then! Haha. I’m curious though about what you do when you need to Google something and Google isn’t working. You just forget about it?

  5. Well I’m definitely not going to be happy if issues like these start affecting my loading speeds. I know it’s all a big business to companies, but it seems like a really low blow. I guess if there were no downsides to switching to the required service then it wouldn’t be so bad. If however you have accounts associated with a site that is being loaded slowly due to sight discrimination then I’d be a bit upset. If someone pays for a service, they shouldn’t get jacked around just for not using it in the desired way. This is one of those things that I really hope doesn’t happen, but I think will probably happen within the next 5 years.

  6. Yes I will be mad if I cannot get on Google. That is the only search engine I use on the internet. I dont like yahoo or bing. That would frustrate me. However, like you stated the government has bigger problems than to worry about what internet servicers are doing. They should make some effort to enforce regulations because it is wrong what internet services are doing. But no, that shouldnt be a priority and it shouldnt be number one on their list.

  7. I think that regulations to a certain extent are a good thing. They can help protect people and users. Where I think it crosses the line is when regulations go beyond the extent of what they were originally intended to do. I’m not sure if they already declared the internet a constitutional right, but if they did then the same day to day rules and regulations about our freedoms would apply to it if they did. If this was the case then restrictions would only be able to limit a small amount of the internet, and that’s the way I think it should be.

  8. I do think that regulations on net neutrality would be great. I think that we definitely shouldn’t have to pay based off of what sites we are using, or even how much we use the internet. The amount of internet usage at home shouldn’t matter. We are the ones paying for the electricity bill every month.The system we have now is what makes the most sense. I do think that it is ridiculous to create a monopoly over which sites we must use. I mean, really it should be up to the users and what we think is best.

  9. If we consider the same post office scenario, of course they are free to change prices and give priority shipping speeds to those who pay more. However, would you still think it was fair if the post office, in order to get more people to purchase higher-priced shipping, lowered the quality of the cheaper shipping options? If they made it so that only packages shipped with the highest costing service were ensured to arrive at its destination on time and intact, this would not be fair. They are removing part of the service they provide to goad people into paying more. This is what some ISP companies are trying to do.

    I think that if these companies start following through on their plans, regulations need to be set in place to ensure fairness. Regulations should give some space and ability for ISP’s to promote websites and web services that provide funding to their company, but not by the degrading or restricting of access to any other website.

  10. Comcast is one of the most fiendish corporate entities around. I wouldn’t put ISP preference software past them as they are completely unscrupulous in every way. Net neutrality is the the logical and decent technique for the internet. Those who seek to thwart the information superhighway and access to the worlds knowledge are the same fiends who seek to whitewash history books to paint robber barons in a more flattering light. Also $100 a month for internet and basic cable f@#* that sh#@! They pay the equivalent of 5 dollars in most European countries for internet speeds far beyond North American providers.

  11. I do not feel the regulations are positive. They prevent consumers from receiving the best product possible. It also is a form of overall censorship, especially if certain content is removed or unavailable to someone who purchases content. The regulations also create monopolies of the companies that can actually provide internet access. We as Americans are not getting the full value of technology or experiencing its full potential. IF we are to beat censorship and corporate domination regulation must be stopped in order to benefit these companies.

  12. From the businesses perspective, of course they would want you to only use their services, which would lead to more sells and popularity. I feel as though blocking peoples access to certain search engines is a violation to our personal freedom to search the web.I mean, if people have the freedom to choose what ISP they want, they should have the freedom to go to any website and use any search engine that Congress will sweep this issue under the rug, because it really is not a big of a deal to them as it is to regular internet users.

  13. I think just because an ISP gets paid by a certain company so a website does or doesn’t load quickly is ridiculous. These companies are really just thinking how they can screw the consumers while giving as little as possible to the consumer. I’m really not a fan of most ISPs in the first place, but knowing that they can do stop webpages from loading because they got paid to do so is ludicrous. I know that congress is already a busy bunch, but if companies are even thinking about doing this they should be stopped. It really isn’t fair for the consumers.

  14. It is ridiculous to not allow large companies, such as the Post Office, FedEx or UPS, to be able to charge additional fees to deliver packages quicker. Indeed, most companies add expediting fees for getting reports done quicker or bonuses for signing contracts swifter. There are many instances when price is directly related to the speed at which something is done or delivered. But the difference here is that these types of companies are not hindering the others progress, they are only adding to their own services. Net neutrality is more like FedEx trucks blocking the Post Office’s driveways, thus limiting what the mail trucks can deliver or stopping them from delivering anything.

  15. I agree that greed seems to be the real issue at hand. Government regulations could subside the issue of reforming into a monopoly. We should have a choice.

  16. I say let the market decide so long as options (even if they are more expensive) exist to view all content. If companies can enter agreements to reduce costs or drive growth more power to them. If they do so at the expense of user experiences and satisfaction then in the long run consumers will switch services. More specifically if AT&T users have to pay extra to use google but consumers prefer google its likely that Sprint will offer google access as part of their standard package and users will switch. If enough people switch AT&T will likely reevaluate their decision and offer google at a lower price to retain consumers and stop the switching. The way I see it, its just like cable. Cable doesn’t have to offer all stations as part of the regular package. I’m OK with that, because if they don’t offer the channels I want, there are many other companies I can use to get the access I want. The invisible hand of the market will ensure the most consumer centric solution emerges.

  17. Those big companies that try to regulate the internet are only trying to protect their profits by blocking out the new competition, which I don’t think is fair. I consider the internet as a world where people can search freely (without any restrictions) for the best products or services that fit their needs; all the big companies as you mention in your blog “Verizon, Comcast, AT&T and the FCC” feel threatened by outside sources. I think the internet should be left alone because it is probably the only place where people can search freely for the things they want and need. People should have the capability to choose what they view and download (even if it means that they have to pay a fee), and not have the government monitor or concern itself with everyone’s viewing habits.

  18. I hate to say it, but regulating the regulators seems like a very valid option. It does seem unfair for ISPs to do that, I mean what are we paying for? Which I guess one could argue would be a selling point to ISPs should they start blocking sites. “Complete free access to all sites!” But without regulation, there really is no telling what could happen. I suppose we’ll find out, but more regulation could make matters worse. It seems to do that sometimes.

  19. The law needs to be reformed to protect the rights of the wireless user. But the idea that you can slow down access to a site because they are a competitor is illegal already. In some countries companies like Google have been sued for anti-competitive practices. This is because when you buy a Google phone the search engine defaults to Google, that only makes sense to me. But other companies are complaining that it ruins the users choice to choose whatever search engine they like. The user though can still change the default search engine they just have to make a conscious effort to do so. I think that suing a company for promoting their other products within their product is asinine. That is like suing a pizza company for giving away coupons for bread sticks on their pizza boxes

  20. I definitely feel that it is unfair and wrong for service providers to slow down or even block certain sites. Ultimately it comes down to internet freedom and if ISPs are allowed to continue regulating websites theres no saying where it may lead. When profit is involved it doesn’t seem like these companies will stop unless regulated to do so by law. I wouldn’t feel comfortable knowing that even though I am paying a monthly service charge that I couldn’t access certain websites because of greedy ISP’s. I think a comprise could be reached if ISP’s were only allowed to set default search engines when the service is setup, however leaving the decision to change it to the customer.

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