Space Ramblings

Network Neutrality and the Many Voices

A computing industry trade group warns that a bill in the Maine legislature would leave the state’s citizens with a “dumb, slower” Internet.

The Computing Technology Trade Industry Association (CompTIA) has urged its members to send a letter stating that the bill, LD 1675, would stall innovation of broadband services, stifle VoIP and IPTV development. The bill would prohibit Internet service providers from prioritizing access based on content or source.

Yes it would stifle VOIP development by internet service providers who hope to lock out outside providers from having access to their users. The only way network neutrality can stifle any development is when companies decide not to invest in that development because they can’t just force their users to kowtow to their monopoly. And as Verizon has demonstrated with Vonage– if the telecom giants can’t break their users of the habit of independence one way– they can just do it another way.

CompTIA warns that the bill would “heavily regulate innovative broadband services and keep computing technology companies, as well as Internet users, in the dark ages.” The group is lobbying legislators to vote against the bill.

What bloody dark ages? This must mean that we’re in the dark ages right now of text messaging, DVD’s, broadband, VOIP and fiber optic and satellite internet. That would make sense if this argument were being penned in 1979. What exactly do telecom giants and providers fear losing that they have now?

No ISP, large or small, will make risky investments in next generation Internet technology when they cannot control or benefit from that investment,” the group warned in a letter it has encouraged its members to sign. “LD 1675 throws those legitimate expectations out the door. Keeping the Internet unregulated means the roll-out of more new technology for Maine, not less. It will allow more voices to be heard, not fewer.”

Keeping the internet unregulated is fine. It doesn’t mean keeping corporations unregulated. Keeping corporations unregulated means very few voices will be heard and only those of a handful of major corporations which will merge with each other, stifle all competition and do their best to turn the internet into their own private sandbox while preventing their users from having any alternatives.

And currently large ISP’s are making plenty of technological investments. Those investments yield a great deal of profits. And they can benefit from those investments. They just shouldn’t expect absolute monopolistic control over their users AND the ability to prevent or circumscribe those users from using outside services. One or the others boys– but definitely not both.

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