I am for a free and open internet... How about you?
If you have been under a rock, then you may not have heard about the net neutrality debate, otherwise I am sure you know all about it. It's a troubling topic to learn about, and something that I hope all are taking notice to.
As a filmmaker, web designer, and simply an internet user I don't want video streaming sites to be slowed down. Independent film is experiencing so much growth right now, and as consumers we have so much fresh content at our fingertips. We recently cut the cord on cable TV, which you can read about in another article on this blog. We did so because we just didn't feel that cable TV was doing thier job all that well with 200+ channels and nothing to watch. So I understand why cable is scared, and backed into a corner. But, the real problem they face is that they aren't creating content that is compelling, or at least aggregating it well. That's why we are seeing a big movement in the entertainment industry towards new concepts like Netflix doing it right. Neflix seems to have their finger on the pulse of what consumers want to watch, and lets them tune in when they want to.
Right now, the FCC is working with cable providers to decide whether they should be allowed to speed up the data rates of "their companies", in effect, slowing down the rates of streaming services such a Netflix, Vimeo, youTube, and others.
By giving big cable the option, and loopholes, they will be lowering the speed of the services we use, or may want to use in the future. Streaming services may be able to pay a premium to get up to speed and be able to compete, but that will increase the amount that consumers have to pay to watch videos on these sites in the long run. It also is a slap in the face to consumers because each and every user of DSL, Cable, and Fiber pays a premium for speed and convenience already. By slowing the speeds of sites, they will be effectively also degrading the quality of service that the public at large pays for.
Now, we all know that big money and government scratch each others backs, but at the very least we should take a stand and make an effort to speak out on the subject. We the people may not have the ablity to change corruption, but we can make sure the FCC and big Cable know that we want a free and open internet.
The US and Data Speeds...
Sadly the US is trailing much of the world already in terms of data speed. So, this entire concept of slowing the internet, potentially puts a squeeze on entrepreneurs trying to get in the game. It is a setback to US growth right from the start. Giving this power to big cable to control speeds of delivery is an idea crusher for startups wanting to create the next big web concept. Imagine a world where you dream up a big idea like Facebook only to have your idea be drowned out by a competing big business first simply because they own the highway of delivery. Doing this becomes monopoly at it's worst because they can deliver information and content faster thus bleeding the young new entrepreneur before he even gets moving. This is bigger than "my video is taking longer to download". This is an entire shift in the landscape of entreprenuership in the world wide web.
Battle For The Net...
Want to help send a message to the FCC and Congress that you want a free and open internet? You can sign a petition, which as of today, has nearly 5 million signed up at battle for the internet. Here is where you can read the petition, and if you agree that you want a free and open internet you can add your name to the list as well via this link. I personally like my internet, and my access to content, the way it is thank you. So, my fingers are crossed that the FCC rules in favor of the public instead of big cable.
What are your thoughts on Net Neutrality? Join the conversation, and let us know how you feel.