“There’s not one Internet for deep-pocketed corporations and a separate Internet for everyone else — there’s the Internet, and it belongs to all of us. That’s the way it’s always been. And that’s the way it should continue to be. But the FCC could change all of that by giving big Internet providers — corporations like Comcast, Time Warner Cable, AT&T, and Verizon — the power to pick and choose which traffic reaches consumers quickly—and which doesn’t. Net neutrality has made the Internet a platform for innovation and economic growth. For example, YouTube started as a relatively small outfit above a pizzeria in a strip mall. YouTube wanted to compete with Google, which had an online video product called Google Video (later Google Videos). Net neutrality guaranteed that YouTube’s and Google’s videos would travel to consumers at the same speeds. Google wasn’t able to pay for a fast lane or any other unfair advantage. Even though Google was a bigger, wealthier, more established company, it had to compete with YouTube on a level playing field. And YouTube ultimately won because it offered a better product. That’s what net neutrality is all about. There’s not one Internet for deep-pocketed corporations and a separate Internet for everyone else — there’s the Internet, and it belongs to all of us. That’s the way it’s always been. And that’s the way it should continue to be. There aren’t many places left where every American can participate on an equal footing with deep-pocketed corporate interests. Our campaign finance laws are in shambles, giving uber-wealthy, often-anonymous groups free rein to amplify their voices over those of the general population. Our tax code is littered with special benefits for special interests. The rules of our civil justice system have been rewritten to insulate corporations from wrongdoing against workers and consumers. But the Internet remains an arena where the quality of one’s products, the value of one’s services, and the persuasiveness of one’s ideas matter more than the depth of one’s pockets. The FCC needs to keep it that way.”

Senator Al Franken: Chairman Wheeler’s proposal would put start-ups and small businesses at a huge disadvantage. And the new costs created by this scheme will be passed along to consumers, who already are being squeezed by their cable and Internet bills. Big corporations will win; everyone else will lose. Americans never have tolerated this sort of thing, and we shouldn’t start now, especially as the biggest Internet providers are trying to get even bigger through mega-mergers. (via wilwheaton)

You know what pisses me off extraordinarily about Wheeler’s proposal?

It’s that he started from a place where he actually has a point.

There is a problem with the net neutrality/tiered service debate as it is currently framed.  It is erasing the ability to use language that talks about a legitimate idea: that a tiered internet can exist while still preserving net neutrality, and that it’s something we might actually want to have.

In the long run, we do need to think about dividing the Internet into layers depending on the demands of the use it’s being put to.  Tiering data—dedicating the faster lanes to data types that require better speed, and dropping less demanding data types to slower ones—can actually make the internet run better.  

The thing is that ultimately, bandwidth is a finite resource.  Granted that for wired connections, you can always lay more cable (though that does get expensive).  But when it comes to mobile/wireless internet—which runs on radio signals—bandwidth has a hard limit.  You can only squish so much data through a radio signal of a particular frequency.  This is why mobile can suck in dense metropolitan areas: even though they’re some of the best-connected locations on the planet, people are simply overcrowding the frequency.

So dedicating high-speed connectivity like 4G to streaming video, for example, while lower-demand traffic like IM or basic web-browsing (where you hardly notice the difference in speed anyway) gets shuffled to a 2G or 3G connection could be desirable.

And it doesn’t automatically negate net neutrality.  The principle is simple: what goes where should be a matter of the TYPE of traffic, not who owns it or how much they’re paying the telecoms to get bumped up to the level they need.

And the fact that Wheeler is trying to act like he’s put forth a useful proposal on this type of tiered internet while it’s actually an insulting, transparent proposal to simply hand the telecoms everything they’ve been clamoring for…I am so angry and offended I can’t even think straight.

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