Net neutrality is going to be a struggle

One of the greatest things about the internet is your ability to go virtually anywhere and do virtually anything (at least, uh, virtually).  This ability is becoming limited by the large internet providers.

A couple of years ago the idea of net neutrality began to be brought forth to prevent any company from limiting  access to something on the internet without payment of an additional fee.  The fear was that your internet provider, such as a cable company, may limit or block your ability to access content which competes with that same company’s other offerings.

Imagine Comcast limiting your ability to get your streaming Netflix movies.  Oh, that’s been done (read this article).  They also want to limit which modems they’ll allow on their network.  I can foresee a time when AT&T will want to limit Vonage or other similar voice over IP (VoIP) service.

Part of the problem is that consumers have limited choices in in accessing the internet at high speeds.  Around the Rogue Valley we have Charter, the local cable company; Qwest and CenturyLink, the local phone companies; and ClearWire and CCountry, two wireless internet companies.  Any one consumer may have one or more options, but the more rural you are, the fewer choices you may have available to you.  Cable is limited to where Charter has decided to string a wire.  The phone companies string wires everywhere, but if you’re too far away from a central office, you can’t get DSL.  ClearWire and CCountry are limited by where they’ve placed their central antennas.

I’ve left out satellite options as they tend to be very costly (both in installation and monthly charges) and don’t provide a great amount of speed when compared to the slowest DSL.  They also have restrictions on bandwidth usage.  Satellite is only for those who need something resembling a high-speed connection and don’t have any other option available.  I’d recommend a cellular connection before satellite.

I’m hoping that we can convince our powers that be that we need to maintain net neutrality.  I just hope it’s done in a manner that’s effective and doesn’t create more problems than it solves.

One Response to “Net neutrality is going to be a struggle”

  1. […] I spoke previously about the idea of Net Neutrality.  It’s been dealt a blow last week by the FCC, the very same government agency we thought would be on our side to protect our interests.  I’ve read articles on the subject from The Wall Street Journal, InfoWorld, and National Public Radio. […]