We Don’t Need No, Net Neutrality

That’s right. I’ve debated posting this article for a few weeks now. I know there will be a flurry of negative and opposing sides to this argument. That said, my resolve is strong. As a technologist, I don’t want my government involved with my Internet. In fact, I don’t want any government involved in my Internet. This is what makes America great! The lack of government involvement. Freedom. Choice. Free market economy. I’m not afraid of capitalism and all its underbelly. Raw capitalism and democracy is dirty. It’s a filthy system that has outright frightening components to it. Inside this Pandora’s Box of fear and loathing is something called competition. It’s the competition that will save us. It’s also what our news agencies are forgetting to highlight.

Let’s Talk Turkey…

The Internet was not founded by government. There was no government committee tasked with creating what truly started in the 1990’s. I’m not talking ARPANET. I’m not talking NSFNET. I’m talking about the commercial Internet that brought us AOL, Prodigy and Earthlink. I’m talking about the Internet of MP3’s, Amazon and Facebook. I’m talking American corporations that thrive on capitalism…you know…all the stuff everyone’s afraid of losing. These behemoths spend billions to keep our appetite for consumption hyper-connected. They’ll slash prices, organize corporate raids, and market around every barrier to get your business, and keep it flowing.

I read article after article about fast lanes and content filtering; censorship and price gouging. The news would have you think that Net Neutrality is the only defense against an Internet that would be completely devoid of what it is today. Frankly, that’s all horse shit. Lack of government involvement is what allowed us to get here! The general public asked for access to the Internet. The general public wanted faster speeds for streaming media. The general public demanded a mobile experience. It was our wallets that drove what the Internet has become. It was the simple principles of supply and demand that got us AWS and Google; Netflix and Facebook; iPhones and YouTube. Quite honestly, the government didn’t even know what was happening.

If companies attempt to monetize content packs (like the legacy TV model), or create fast lanes, or filter services the general public want access to, it will only hurt their bottom line. Businesses that get greedy benefit, only, for a short period of time. Consumers get unhappy. They look for alternatives. Someone creates a competitive alternative. Competition leads to conversion, and the greedy businesses lose patrons.

Look at what’s happening in the broadcast and cable TV markets. Greed is replaced with better alternatives.

The most dramatic work of buffoonery is the notion that Net Neutrality would preserve creativity. That regulation would actually foster new and exciting technologies. This idea is not only comical, its absurd. One of the biggest sales points to Net Neutrality is the notation that it would preserve the Internet much like a public utility. That regulation would ensure survival and preservation. I believe that’s 100% true. Along the same lines, just like your public utilities, the Internet would stop progressing. When was the last time you heard about an exciting improvement to our electrical grid or water systems? The fact is, government regulated businesses are crumbling and providing services that are the same as they were 20-50 years ago!

Necessity is the mother of all invention…

When you break down the building blocks of the Internet, you’ll find that almost all the technology stems from a need to get around a limitation of the time.

  • Video compression: to avoid costly bandwidth prices and lack of speeds of that day
  • Audio compression and distribution: to avoid the overly greedy and inflexible music business of that time
  • Payment and purchase processing: to allow for speedy and secure methods of receiving goods outside of archaic retail systems
  • Mobile Internet: to allow for email and business communications on-the-go

The reality of innovation is that it requires the seedy side of capitalism. It is fueled by businesses trying to price gouge, limit alternatives or force sales models. It’s 100% true that these things will happen. Every business wants more money. Every consumer wants things cheaper. The cycle is balanced by innovation and freedom to create. Regulation is like a cancer. It is an unnatural part of the delicate balance that self checks…self balances…and self heals with enough time.

Maybe I’m a renegade, but I prefer an environment that allows the people to “stick it to the man”. I love watch YouTube devour reality TV. I relish as iTunes consumes the music industry. I’m excited as Amazon dominates retail. I’ll be the first subscriber to T-Mobile’s new TV service. The general public is more empowered now, than ever before, to take ownership of it’s destiny. With power, comes responsibility. I’m willing to accept that.

We cannot fear the unknown, nor should we fear our adversaries. Sometimes we’ll lose. Sometimes we’ll gain. The next generation should hear the call. We need to invent a way to subvert physical infrastructure. Our enemy is copper wire and fiber optics owned by conglomerates. Cellular is just another form of our enemy. It’s a trojan horse invading on our turf. RF. Satellite. Modulation and optics. The first company to offer an alternative to PSTN and TCP/IP infrastructure will be the ruler of the next 50 years.

Mitigate risk & regulate change…

I believe the initial reason for regulation was rooted in fear. Our government is afraid of what the Internet allowed for. Evolving means for people to communicate in private. Corporate owned information that was moving too quickly to capture. Why would you regulate unaltered innovation? To catch up. It’s my belief that Net Neutrality was a speed bump for all ISPs. The government needed time to catch up. They needed legislation allowing them access to ISP infrastructure, server space and corporate-controlled communications. Just like the government controls electric and telephone; they needed a way to control the Internet. Unlike China’s great firewall, or Russia’s Telekom, Net Neutrality was sold as a positive. Save the Internet! Save our freedom! People march the streets in favor of empowering our government! Who the hell wants that shit?!

Leave us alone and let us deal with the corporations of America. We’ll figure out a way to strike a balance. If not, we’ll invent something to subvert them! We don’t need help from the FCC. I mean after-all, they did a hell of a job with everything else they’ve been a part of. 😳

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