Did you hear about the recent federal appeals court ruling that shot down the terribly-named "net neutrality?" Most people probably didn't notice the news and aren't quite sure what net neutrality actually means anyway. Before the court ruling, Internet service providers had to treat all content going through their pipes equally, just like conversations are treated going through a phone line. That is "net neutrality."
After the ruling, if you're a big company with some bucks, you can pay Verizon, Comcast or a similar ISP to speed your data along faster. For the right price, your data can jump ahead in line. ISPs will also be allowed to block content they find objectionable, though they swear they would never ever do that, of course.
Doesn't sound like that big of a deal, right? Imagine, though, two or more "Internets," one that zips along the latest Netflix movie and another Internet that creeps along, delivering boring old educational material to public libraries. The Internet will be as fast as you can pay, which seems like a sure way to kill Al Gore's best invention ever. Enjoy the cartoon, let me know what you think in the comments and be sure to share along the not-so-neutral net. And as usual, you can find more links to the news behind the cartoon on my website.
In days gone by, Internet was equal and free,
The tubes were all open for you, them and me.
A wild world of freedom and commerce was hopping,
With new stuff and neat stuff, inventions not stopping!
The tubes were expanded to let it all through,
Providers with profits, they grew and they grew.
'Til one day they said, "Let's grow them some more,"
We'll charge for first class and uneven the score!
They'll pay us to speed their bits right along,
The rest will be slower, but they're paying a song!
Mr. Bell would've died, a much richer man,
If he'd split up his lines, with a Gilded Age plan!
He'd give some a preference and others he'd block,
If they dared interfere with the rise of his stock.
Do you really expect us to treat public moochers,
The same as those profitable Hollywood smoochers?
Get with the program, it's our playground of profit!
You won't pay your way? Log off and get off it!
The playing field's as level as you pay it to be,
Just ask the old FCC man, who's working for me!
So we're off to the races, with Internet tiers,
Fork over more dough and we'll-- [poem interrupted by paywall banner. end.]