The silly idea that is Net Neutrality

So there has been a lot of talk about net neutrality (and even a few calls for me to explain what it is). Honestly this is out of my usual field as it’s a little more technical and a little less philosophical, and I think the videos I’m placing at the end do a wonderful job on their own of laying out the case against net neutrality but I will point out the two main reasons why “Net Neutrality” is an asinine concept.
The first is the argument that providers like Comcast, Cox, AT&T and any other internet provider has the ability to block their users from going to sites they don’t want their users to go to. Let’s say one of these had a deal with Google so they blocked down or at the very least slowed down service to Bing and Yahoo. Now while Google might be just the kind of evil empire of a corporation that would try for something like this…however those providers would be absolutely insane do that. Because any provider who did that would soon find itself blackballed by all the other providers and probably most of the other search engines. Just as the Cold War never came to a throwing nuclear war because both sides understood that no one would win from this, corporations, no matter how much they are after a quick buck, understand the concept of mutually assured destruction quite well and are not crazy enough to block content.
But liberals continue to whine that those evil, evil providers somehow will not act in their own best interest and will block sites they don’t want you to get to, and so we need laws to stop them from doing it, even though, you know, there has never been a single solitary example of this ever. Yes, let’s outlaw something someone has never done, never thought of doing, and never showed an inclination of doing (outside of China) and thereby giving the government power over the form of media that most of us now get our information from. (Because while we don’t trust our internet provider who has never done anything like this, the same government that tried a denial of service attack on Wikileaks can be completely trusted…and if you believe that please email me because I have some lovely bridges to sell you).
But, while giving the government more power over the media is always a bad idea, we also have something else to combat this problem if this insane situation ever came up. We have choice. If your phone company’s internet service decided to try and start to restrict your service, then get the internet through your cable company. If cable restricts service switch to satellite cable (and there’s more than one). If satellite cable is restricting service, there are about a dozen cell phone companies now that you can get the internet through. And there will never be a cabal between all these companies to deny you service because if those companies are so evil they would try something like this, then they are also evil enough to betray their fellow cabal members and get more customers by offering what customers want. There is not even the remotest chance of a monopoly coming into the internet (unless the government does get involved then the chances go up exponentially). The joys of the capitalistic system will keep this from ever becoming a problem even if one company does decide to go crazy.
So why does the government still want to regulate something that isn’t a problem? I can’t imagine that it would be to control a form of the media via outrageous regulation and requirement…no, not from the same people who want to force all media outlets to follow the fairness doctrine (i.e., toe the line for whatever party is in party in power, can’t possibly see how that could lead to problems).
And there is the 2nd part to net neutrality that basically boils down to the government’s inability to understand economics and that the general public is a bunch of whiners. There is a complaint that soon internet providers will charge you based on how much bandwidth you use. Bandwidth is the amount of information you download. Right now in the early stages certain providers are capping massive amounts of bandwidth with slightly higher prices after they pass a certain point. (Right now that cap is set at about downloading two DVD quality movies every day). Some people are upset about this and want the government to use Net Neutrality legislation to prevent internet providers from doing this. Why I’m not sure. If I use more electricity the electric company charges me more. If I use more water I get charged more. If talk on my phone for longer periods I get charged more. Why should internet usage be any different? Besides with the expansion of Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Streaming and a dozen other media sites the amount of internet usage is about to skyrocket…and somebody has to pay for the needed improvements to the internet delivery infrastructure—shouldn’t the people who are using more be charged more for a utility?
In the end Net Neutrality is about as dumb as just about every other idea to come out of the Obama administration.


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