Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Waiting for 2010 #131: Net Neutrality Makes the Internet a Free AND FAIR Marketplace

The very future of the Internet is at a crux. The preservation of Net Neutrality is essential for a healthy free local, national, and global Internet market. We cannot have historically- and allegedly-colluded entities become the gatekeepers of information, giving preference to the highest bidders (likely other alleged colluded entities with monopolistic tendencies), thus thwarting innovation from - for lack of a better phrase - the little guy.

Innovation happens with freedom.  Competition is better when there are more players.  Unfortunately, it seems that Republican lawmakers are against the FCC's involvement in keeping the Internet free and fair.  Now, it really looks like the GOP is in the tank for major corporate interests (the telecoms, in this case), while under the guise of "supporting the free market."  It is not the free market when the likely consequences for preventing net neutrality are the following:  More collusion; more censorship, and ironically-but-not-really, the death of the aforementioned free market due to monopolistic practices and corporate oligarchies.  The only ones to benefit from a lack of net neutrality are the major Internet service providers, resource-wealthy multimedia conglomerates, and the politicians who try to fool themselves and others...all the way to the bank.

The Internet - with its innovations and trivialities, its meaningful content and spammers, its social networking friends and forum trolls, and all other for-better-or-for-worse contradictions - needs to remain as free and as fair as reasonably possible.  ISPs can make their money, and they continue to do so, but they must remember that their customers should come first - and not cooperative corporate conspirators.  In an ideal free economy, if the ISPs don't treat their customers right, they lose their customers and eventually fail.  Unfortunately, sometimes one ISP has seemingly monopolistic control over some regions, in that they are the only choice for Internet access (other than AOL dial-up).  Keeping most - if not all - data on the Internet on an equal playing field should keep regional ISP monopolies decently honest.

While the Internet is definitely the new television (and radio), it shouldn't fall into the same ownership and censorship pitfalls of television (and radio).  This time around, the FCC has the opportunity to do some good (with hopefully the lightest touch, of course).  I think - I think - they were somewhat responsible for the sorry state of American broadcast media.

We need - nay, we deserve! - more competitors and less conglomerates on this new media playing field, rewarding innovation over imperialism, where social media does not mean socialism (despite the fearmongrels' assertions).  Welcome to Capitalism 2.0, ...

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