Electronic Musician, Drummer, Sound Designer and Technologist
Why freedom of the Internet matters
Categories: rants, thoughts

For those of you that don’t know, the Internet as a whole has been under attack for a long time by entities that believe that your usage of the Internet should be regulated to what websites you can visit, how often, and what you can download.

Well, the FCC is doing all it can, now, to help Corporations reach that goal.  MSNBC (which will soon be owned by Comcast), is reporting that the FCC will soon allow rationing of Internet Traffic.

The Government and Corporations HATE the fact that they can’t make as much money off the Internet as they want to be able to. They hate that it can’t be taxed as much as they want it to, that it’s a free enterprise that Government helped create that has become possibly the greatest source of free information and market capital in all of history. That’s why pushes have been made to tax everything on ebay, to force web-based businesses to charge state taxes on every transaction they do for every state that business is “transacted” in, despite the fact that they’re never physically been in that state while doing that transaction. Do you know how much the Government HATES that? Enough that the next logical option for Government entities, (which, despite what you may think, are lobbied and greatly controlled by Corporate entities) is to find ways to impose more taxing of the Internet and all the data that is on it.

I take issue with anyone who asserts that “the internet is not a right”. You are WRONG. The internet is, in this day and age, and from here on out, just as much a right as your right to free speech. The Internet has changed the way that information reaches the world, how people learn, how they communicate. To allow corporations to decide what data is fed where, and how much it costs ABOVE what they’re already charging for access to a way to get to that data, is atrocious. Fifteen years ago, the Internet was something not needed by the greater percentage of people in this world. Now, it is the primary source of information for that same greater percentage.

I understand that bandwidth isn’t free. As usage goes up, so does the need for more capacity – but there is a flawed idea behind charging people if they use “more” than some arbitrary number that a corporation decides should be the normal usage for someone on the Internet. How will this affect someone like me, who does the bulk of their business on the internet, a good portion of which includes uploading videos to Youtube, which can be anywhere from hundreds to thousands of megabytes? Add to that that my phone is a VOIP phone, I stream music while I’m working, and I study my craft on the net via reading and watching videos about music production – what am I to do when some corporation decides that I am allotted 50 gb of bandwidth per month for a fee that’s egregiously inflated because a corporation saw the chance to make more money off me, because I can’t MAKE MONEY without the Internet?

This idiocy is coming from all angles, but primarily from the Entertainment industry, which is also upset at the amount of money “lost” to the Internet. These are the same companies which have no idea what kind of power the web holds, and how much it held when they viciously attacked it many years ago. Piracy is a HUGE factor in all this that these entities will happily try to assert is not. If Entertainment corporations control the data, and how you can access it, they can restrict everything that falls under that umbrella. For all the illegal filesharing on the internet, there is a great contingent of people who are spreading freely available data, music, video, and beyond that THEY created, that these companies will do their best to shut down and kill so that all you get is $1.99 DRM laden downloads of the latest Miley Cyrus drivel to be shat out the ass of another washed up auto-tuning record producer. These same entities hate the fact that Netflix has made use of a free-enterprise network like the Internet to reach thousands of new, PAYING customers.

Oh, poor Comcast, Time Warner, and Cablevision. You thought that capacity wouldn’t grow with the size of the Internet. Cry me a river.

The sad thing about all of this is that people will be forced, no matter what, into paying exorbitant amounts of money to access this data stream. Going to school over the Internet? Pay a fee to access your online courses! Video publisher? Pay a fee to access and publish to Youtube! Sell things on Ebay? Pay a fee to access Ebay, and, while you’re at it, pay taxes to every state entity that can get its claws into the system! Add to that how many devices rely on the Internet – and the fact that that number of devices is growing daily (TVs are connecting to the ‘net now, for god’s sake!) – and people will be forced into paying ridiculous fees to access the Internet just to keep these devices working.

If corporations are suggesting that you should pay for every megabyte of data you download, they’d better DAMN WELL make the fee to get on the Internet nearly nothing. As others have said, if I use my heater less, my bill goes down. If I drive my car less, I spend less money on gas. There is no proof that Comcast and their ilk won’t charge insane fees just to get a peer access to the Internet, much less charge you enormous fees for every megabyte you download.

I realize this sounds crazy – people will say, “Yes, but you should have to pay for all the data you download, this is the same as your water bill!”. Well, I disagree. You can’t quantify the data on the net, and the data that people access, as a physical thing, as you can with water. You -can- quantify it in usage stats and in electricity/capacity – but to say that that justifies allowing Corporations to control the Internet is entirely silly. Add to that that access to the Internet has been based on gaining access – not how much you use – and there is another huge issue here; monopoly control over the Internet.

You don’t understand the implications this will have. It will be HUGE. If you think this is something that won’t affect you, YOU’RE WRONG. If you think that you’ll be OK being allotted a tiny amount of bandwidth, YOU’RE WRONG. If you think it won’t happen, YOU’RE DOUBLE WRONG.


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