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16May/14Off

The Idiocy of Tom Wheeler and What Net Neutrality Means to You

FCC Chairperson and Former Lobbyist Tom Wheeler

FCC Chairperson and Former Lobbyist Tom Wheeler

Tom Wheeler is the Chairman of the FCC. Prior to that he spent time as President of the National Cable Television Association, a lobby group for cable service providers such as Time-Warner and Comcast. This is important because he is one of the key people responsible for ensuring something called Net Neutrality. Net Neutrality is essentially ensuring that all data that traverses the Internet is given the same fair priority. The Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are the companies that provide your home and business Internet connections, such as AT&T, Verizon, Time-Warner, Comcast and many others. ISPs would very much like to change the way you receive your Internet service, and they want YOU to pay more for it. The method they want to use is called rate limiting or prioritization.

Data traverses the Internet in packets of data. Now if you view these packets as boxes, you can view the Internet backbone as the trucks that will carry these boxes. Right now every box gets the same priority and they are loaded on the trucks and delivered to you as quickly as possible. This is Net Neutrality, every packet is given the same priority, so whether you are streaming a movie, updating your Facebook status or commenting on my blog, your packets get delivered equally and fairly. Seems simple right? It is.

What Tom Wheeler is deciding on is the creation of "Internet Fast Lanes" where companies are forced to pay a higher rate to receive a higher priority. So returning to our analogy, your box gets delayed so that higher priority boxes get delivered faster. What this does is create an Internet of haves and have nots. If you pay for the fast lane, you get a higher priority. Everyone else fights over the scraps of bandwidth that are left over. Keep in mind that this does not change the actual physical properties of the backbone. The lines aren't going to be increased for these "Internet Fast Lanes." They are just going to take away existing lanes from everyone else so that those that pay get a higher priority. So the question is, who supports the creation of Internet Fast Lanes and who opposes them. Companies like AT&T, Verizon, Time-Warner and Comcast support the creation of these fast lanes while companies like Google, Microsoft, and Amazon oppose them. There is also a very large growing contingent of Internet users that oppose these 'Internet Fast Lanes' because of how unfair they are to the consumer.

Right now Tom Wheeler is trying to push through these Internet Fast Lanes as the FCC Chairman. Interesting since he used to lobby for the very companies that want this unfair practice in place. How would this effect you? Let's use Netflix as an example. If Netflix doesn't pay extra to use the Fast Lanes, your movie watching experience will suffer greatly. So of course they will pay. As a result your Netflix rate goes up. Want fast access to your free Facebook account, you have to pay for premium to cover the extra fees that Facebook pays to get on the Internet Fast Lane. Want to get in the Internet Fast Lane yourself as an end user. Oh sorry, that's not available to you. It is only available to big companies.

So now that you see the inherent unfairness of these "Internet Fast Lanes" and you need to do something about it. First you should tell FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler that you support keeping the Internet fair, you support 'Net Neutrality.' You can do this by emailing him at Tom.Wheeler@fcc.gov. The next thing you can do is tell your representative and Senators that you support Net Neutrality. You can reach your house representative at http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/ and your senator can be found at http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

It's your Internet. Don't let it be taken over by corporations and corrupt politicians.