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Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality

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Published by daltonrowe

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Published by: daltonrowe on May 16, 2009
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04/07/2011

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The backbone of the internet are the miles of cable and phone lines owned only two orthree major companies. This represents a monopolic structure that leads to theexploitation of customers through exorbitant pricing and the filtering of content while atthe same time inhibiting the competition and development of the digital infrastructurethat America needs to thrive. The small group of companies that own the infrastructureare proposing a plans to meter, restrict, and extort the general populous of the UnitedStates who need this infrastructure to conduct their business and personal lives.Government regulation is necessary in order to preserve the neutral nature of theinternet and provide level ground for industries and services to flourish in 21st century.
The monopoly on internet services also slows the expansion of vital andextremely beneficial opportunities to the poor. Without widespread competition,companies have to incentive to lower prices, thus leaving internet connectivity out ofreach for many of the lower class. Some may argue that such connectivity would be outof reach for such people regardless due to the cost a computer. However, competitionbetween computer manufacturers over the last decade have lower the cost of hardwareto a price almost all can afford. Meanwhile, the cost of broadband has not decreasedlargely due to a lack of competition.
If prices were lowered the lower classes of the United States would be able tomore readily afford the cost of internet connectivity. This connectivity offers countlessbenefit such as education via free online courses from the likes of UC Berkley, MIT, andStanford as well as old-fashioned research. This commodization of specializededucation allows those disadvantaged to rise from their situations by their own disciplineand self-education allowing them either find higher paying semi-skilled jobs or build up
The Internet Must Be Treated as a Public Utility
Dalton Rowe
 
enough understanding of a subject to then pursue higher more formal forms ofeducation. Aside from education, less expensive de-monopolized internet allows forthose with initiative to create and maintain their own business ventures. Thanks to theinternet, no longer must significant capitol and investment be required to start abusiness. No storefront of large orders of raw materials are required to began sellingwares. Many websites such as artfire.com, cafepress.com, and craigslist.com allow forpeople to directly market and sell their own craft a creativity, helping thosedisadvantaged or recently unemployed immediately turn a profit on their ideas.
It is no great secret that large amounts of commerce and a myriad ofindustries are developing online. Online ecommerce was responsible for a total 102.1
billion 
dollars in 2006 [emarketer.com]. That is a significant contribution to the worldeconomy and is due to the fact that the internet is currently relatively free and neutralcompared to what has been proposed. Government anti-trust regulation is needed inthe case of internet service providers because the fate of thousands of business rely onthe internet everyday to turn a profit. If extortion of the current infrastructure is allowedto happen it will restrict and slow business that the United States desperately needs.
Plans such as metered broadband, where every bit is counted and chargedindividually are impractical and not representative of how the internet is used. More andmore the internet is being used as a constant connection to the world wheretransactions and information can be transfered at a moment
ʼ
s notice, the bean counterevery-once-in-a-while philosophy of metered broadband does not reflect this need. Anunlimited monthly utility better represents how the internet is used today by both
The Internet Must Be Treated as a Public Utility
Dalton Rowe
 
businesses and personal consumers, but more importantly, and more
relevantly 
, itrepresents how the internet will be used tomorrow.
For example, many software businesses choose to offer downloads of theirproducts alongside boxed retail copies. Furthermore, some smaller business don
ʼ
t havethe liquid capitol to invest in a printed run of box copies leaving online downloads astheir only means of revenue. If bandwidth were to be metered by the bit, it wouldessentially impose a de facto tax on every product sold as an online download. Adobe,an large company and important software developer for creative professionals offers tosell their flagship product Photoshop CS4 Extended online as a download. This already$700 program comes in at 1012 megabytes, or a little more than 1 gigabyte. Time-Warner
ʼ
s budget tier, adds fifteen dollars to the already $700 program by charging $15for 1GB/month, not including overages [cio.com].
New pricing plans such as metered internet that increase cost while notincreasing quality are a symptom of only a few controlling the internet infrastructureused by many. Plans such as these as well as other schemes such as filtering contentand deep packet inspection, where information sent and received by customers is readand either deleted or slowed down per company policies retard the growth of newtechnologies and businesses as well as presenting a conflict of interest. Newbusinesses that have better technologies, content, or ideas that compete with InternetService Providers will be stifled by slowed communiqué or have their online existenceessentially black-balled. Furthermore, the companies such as AT&T, Version, andComcast that currently own the infrastructure are often part of a larger parent company.Therefore it is not inconceivable that products and services not directly related to the
The Internet Must Be Treated as a Public Utility
Dalton Rowe

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