Amazon.com Widgets

Why Net Neutrality Matters

by Dr. Rick Kirschner on May 4, 2014

MBP AND IPADToday, one of my online friends responded to an article I linked to about the soon to be lost net neutrality.  Here’s how I responded when she said this:

To me, Net Neutrality is similar to insisting that EVERYONE gets a trophy.

Gosh, that’s a surprise.  I don’t get it.   I do get that net neutrality is a complicated issue, for sure.   But net neutrality has nothing to do with giving booby prizes (trophies) to all the losers so they don’t feel bad about the winners.

Instead it’s about keeping a level playing field so this engine of connection and commerce can continue to grow, instead of allowing high speed lanes for favored customers and moneyed clients, while everyone else has to take the crowded main road. The consequence of an open internet: The amazing planetary link to all of humanity that we now have, where information can flow freely, people can collaborate and share openly, and the same resources are available to every business and group, regardless of size or money. In the neutral net, people who have more money can spend it already. People who have more resources can still use them. And there will still be losers and winners, so competition isn’t lost. It’s just that we’re all sharing the same information highway.

The open internet allowed me to build and grow my business and to compete with much larger enterprises successfully, which means I could work smarter, serve more people, and develop my reputation and reach while controlling my costs. It’s an enhancement to the free enterprise system, just like roads and railroad tracks.

Without a neutral net, you’ll see the same kind of balkanization that afflicts every other human endeavor. Someone like me, just starting out, will find it very difficult to be seen or heard over the favored and privileged businesses that can afford to pay the piper.

This will be a huge loss for almost everyone, and sadly only in hindsight will you realize what you gave up by not supporting net neutrality. And you know who wants most to end the neutral net? Dictators around the world hate the open internet, as it allows people to get uppity, to challenge authority, to find out they aren’t alone. Monopolists hate it too, because it allows people to route around the damage they might otherwise cause. Folks who want to control what we say and do and think would love to put an end to the neutral net. And of course the big businesses who think they should have the right to throw their weight around no matter who gets crushed. That’s company I sure don’t want to keep.

This conversation is likely an exercise in futility, however. If the powers that be should choose to screw up the net to benefit some at the expense of the many, there’s not much we can do to stop them, at least in the short term.

That’s what I wrote.  But I didn’t post it on Facebook.  Instead, I posted it here on my blog.   It’s like keeping my thoughts to myself, and only sharing them with people like you who are interested enough to read my blog.  For which I thank you.  Comments are welcome!

Be well,

Rick

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