Oh. Now I Get It. #netneutrality

I kinda got I should care about net neutrality because I love -well live- on the Internet. So I should be ashamed to admit I had no idea what net neutrality was and why I should care.

But I’m not.

I mean look. It’s not my fault most net neutrality articles read like research papers. The worst pieces are the ones that sound like LSAT sample questions. FCC this. Regulations that. Proposals. Rules. House. Senate. Law. Hmmm what?

In one ear, out the other.

Well.Thanks to Fred Wilson’s post here and USV’s post here, I finally comprehend what net neutrality is, why I should care and why you, fellow Internet user, should care too. So click on those links. Stat.

Still here?

Ok fine. How about this. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you have Google (Gmail included), Facebook and/or Twitter always open in your browser?
  • Do you go on YouTube, Vimeo or any other video site?
  • Do you stream video on Netflix, Hulu or any other site?
  • Do you download music or movies? (it’s ok to say yes btw, I won’t tell.)
  • Are you an entrepreneur?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, net neutrality applies to you too.

Pretty serious, right?


Ok then how about this: picture the Internet ending up like cable TV or worse, the radio, where the things we (the public) see or hear is controlled by $$$.

Do I have your attention now? Read this

Ugh. The notion of money hungry a-holes trying to destroy the Internet makes me ill. I mean it’s one of the last places where everyone has a voice, no matter who you know, where you come from or what you look like.

So gross.

ps: don’t forget to read this


10 thoughts on “Oh. Now I Get It. #netneutrality

  1. It bothers me that our first instinct is to cry for government intervention (where our particular government doesn’t actually have jurisdiction) when we should be crying for _less_ intervention.

    Right now, the government heavily subsidizes the incumbent players, making it next to impossible for honest, small companies to rise up and compete. Creating extra regulations like this will hands down *prohibit* any competition from rising up in reasonable enough timeframes to matter.

    I’ve written on this extensively but I eventually gave up – mostly because the only people who actually care about network neutrality (like Fred and the others petitioning for this language) have no desire to read well-reasoned and reasonable views that disagree with their own.

    Yeah – you should see the traffic numbers on my network neutrality posts – I’d have better luck writing about underwater basketweaving.

      1. There are tons of posts about it (both news and analysis) on SiliconANGLE, some very recent, that are useful if you’re already knee-deep into the debate.


        I tried to write some primers to the debate some time back. Looking over it now, it meanders all over the place until getting to the money quotes at the end.

        Here’s one from a little over a year ago.


        This one is more directly to the point – how it negatively affects the competitive landscape and small businesses:


        Anton Wahlman (a hedge fund trader that occasionally contributes) wrote a sensational but intriguing post on the topic.


        Morgan Warstler is an indie web video producer that _doesn’t_ tow the party line for Network Neutrality.


        SiliconANGLE has also published several opposing viewpoints. I don’t remember those as well, but there was this one mini-doc that we published by Michael Sean Wright here…


  2. Rizzn, I read through the posts and did some research on the side. I still stand by the original statements. Given history and the cable monopolies, I still don’t see how we (the public) would benefit from more government regulation.

    Also, how likely is it new provider(s) can come in for market share in 2010 on?

    1. It’s a major uphill battle for new providers to come up in an environment of heavy favor towards the incumbent players, admittedly.

      Take this excerpt from one of the posts I sent you:

      “I’ve taken to using the following examples in my interviews and in my podcasts lately, because it’s true, bears out my experience, and perfectly illustrates the flaws in proposed network neutrality regulations. It’s relatively easy to start competing with the big boys, given a small capital expenditure (say about $10-30k to fund it for the first year or so), you could start up a local area broadband ISP that offers wireless or microwave services to a few metropolitan city blocks, perhaps servicing a few thousand customers or more.”

      “In the past, I’ve seen companies that take this tactic (a couple of examples from South Florida spring to mind) and grow to be not-unformidable regional providers of broadband.”

      “Now, imagine, because of governmental network neutrality mandates you’re now required to bolt on an $800,000 deep packet inspection piece of hardware so that the government can ensure you’re treating all packets equally.”

      That would be considered an ISP that should adhere to the regulations of network neutrality – and it would become cost prohibitive to enact. I’ve actually been on the ground floor of just such an operation before, and I can tell you that if these types of folks were required to purchase an $800,000 piece of equipment to get started (in addition to all the other expenditures that must be made), it would knock a lot of local entrants out of the running.

      If you don’t think such entrants exist – take a look at the WiMax market in Colorado Springs, for instance. Dozens of these mom and pop operations exist in taht market, thanks to an interesting business environment favoring entreprenuers as well as a geography that lends itself to over-the-air broadband versus wirelines.

      Network neutrality would kill the vast majority of those players and leave millions of people without access at all, since the broadband options (aside from WiMax) are severely limited there.

    2. Yes – that bill was introduced at the same time as John McCain’s bill (and I wrote about it here: http://siliconangle.com/blog/2009/11/02/my-problem-with-the-modern-network-neutrality-debate/).

      The problem with the wording of that bill is that it more or less mandates, if the language is to be enforced, that every ISP network operations center has to install an $800,000 piece of equipment called a Deep Packet Inspector. DPI’s, in addition to giving the owner of the equipment an insanely intrusive amount of information about the traffic on a network, would either have to be paid for by the government (unlikely, and cost taxpayers astronomical sums), or by the ISPs, making starting a new business cost prohibitive as I described above.

      The introduction of Edward Markey’s precise language for network neutrality in this bill was actually what swayed me from being on the pro-Network Neutrality side of the debate. Once it was clear how much government intrusion would be necessary to enforce this, I became very uncomfortable with the whole thing.

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