Friday, June 09, 2006

Get ready for a newer, slower internet...

Well, there you have it. Apparently, the enemy has congress firml in its pocket. It becomes obvious that those representatives who were quoted on the "No" side of the equation misunderstand things as they apply to the consumers of internet access.

Rep. Lamar Smith said:

They say let the government dictate [a vibrant internet]...I urge my colleagues to reject government regulation of the Internet.

That's the spin necessary to justify voting no, and if it were a completely fair statement, I'd be okay with it. However, as someone who both connects to numerous websites and creates content that other people access, I see things in precisely the opposite direction.

I purchase a connection to the internet from SBC/ATT. I am not purchasing a connection to a list of preferred websites, I'm buying an internet connection, period. At the point that some bits of data begin to be provided more quickly than other bits, I have a problem, because my internet connection is being purposely degraded. Small wonder that yesterday, AT&T announced plans to quadruple their backbone speed. They're probably rubbing their hands together with glee at the idea of being able to hoarde 30GBPS of speed for private data (IPTV, anyone?) and leave 10GBPS for less lucrative traffic.

Throw into the mix the fact that I have already paid for a good part of the infrastructure improvements currently in place, and we begin to look skeptically at the whole "no more government regulation" bit. It's fine to have government regulations allowing telecom companies to charge "federal cost recovery" fees, but not to require that the infrastructure paid for by those fees (by you and me) carry all traffic without prejudice or deference? Something smells in that equation.

I know that the first time I note any serious speed difference in sites I normally frequent, I will be complaining and possibly changing service providers (not sure if I'll have a choice).

I'm not surprised at the results of the vote, but I am definitely discouraged, both at the percentages of yes vs. no and at the lack of respect that our representatives are paying to the citizens they are supposed to represent.

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