"Net Neutrality" is a phrase we've been seeing a lot these days. The FCC just voted in favor of keeping the Internet neutral by designating it a "Utility" like the telephone or electric company. Some people are very happy about this and some are not. It primarily depends on which side of the political fence you are.
Our Express Publisher, Gina Channel-Allen, wrote a commentary on net neutrality six months ago. Now that the FCC has made its decision, Gina seems less enthusiastic about it than I expected her to be.
Bill Johnson, President of Embarcadero Media, which publishes the Palo Alto Weekly, the Pleasanton Weekly, and all of the online versions of them, should be happy or at least relieved that our online newspapers won't be shunted off onto the slow lane. That's one of the things Net Neutrality protects. Everyone gets the same internet speed whether you are rich or poor. No Lamborghinis on the Internet now.
I'm not sure what the fuss is about charging deep pocket websites a premium for higher speed downloads. I've been using the Internet since 1981. Yes that's not a misprint, 1981. I hooked up my Apple II+ to a little red modem and connected that to my telephone line. If I needed to download something from a website, I would just leave it connected all night. Worked fine.
In those days there were no graphics, no pretty colors or designs, just yellow text on black or green monitors. I may be old, but I'm tech savvy. Nothing is as slow as an old phone line modem, so downloading a website on the slow lane wouldn't bother me much.
But younger people these days are spoiled. Even I get a little impatient when the broken computer graphic pops up and asks if I want to "Kill Pages or Wait." So slow speeds would hurt small startups that couldn't afford higher prices for high speed connections and local online news groups like the Pleasanton Weekly or Danville/San Ramon Express might lose impatient readers to the SF Chronicle.
I subscribe to a lot of investment newsletters, hoping to get rich in the stock market, which so far has eluded me. Since these newsletters provide advice on how to make a killing in the market, they tend to be anti-regulation.
Michael Robinson's latest issue of "Strategic Tech Investor" decries Net Neutrality. "In November, President Barack Obama came out in support of net neutrality, declaring that the Internet was a 'telecommunications service.' So, we were expecting this free-market meddling."
The other side of Net Neutrality is preventing potential censorship. Maybe critics are upset because left field websites will be able to spew their liberal philosophies just as easily as well-healed conservative websites. Horrors!
I don't think that matters much since most of the population has already made up its collective minds towards one side or the other. As the old football cheer goes, "Lean to the left. Lean to the right. Stand up, Sit down, Fight! Fight! Fight!" So yes the fighting will continue without suppressing one side or the other. Thanks to net neutrality, nothing will change.