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Net Neutrality in the Great White North

As you have probably heard, the ongoing debate over Net Neutrality has been heating up the Great White North in the last few weeks.

There has been a large amount of anger and public outrage over the CRTC’s recent (Canadian Radio-Television Telecommunications Commission) decision to allow for usage based billing. Major ISPs such as SHAW, Telus and Primus have of course, been strong supporters and are only too happy to accept the new ruling.

It seems to be such a contentious issue for so many people, yet so many of us have no real idea of what net neutrality is, or how it impacts us as individuals (watch for an upcoming post by Beanstalk to help de-mystify Net Neutrality). Despite all the apparent anger, no one really seems to understand what this means to them personally or to the internet as a whole. With so much misinformation people are not even sure what they are getting worked up about. All they know is that it will now cost money to download all those wonderful torrents that they previously enjoyed for free.

Is capping bandwidth simply a money grab for ISPs with the CRTC ruling in favour of business over individuals? What about those businesses that rely on the transfer of encrypted data transfers continuously to run and operate?

Now this is where the issue really starts to heat up. If you forego your cable TV service with Shaw but still have internet service through them, what happens when you have a subscription to Netflix and watch only streaming movies? You are now paying for your Netflix subscription as well as being changed for the extra bandwidth. Savvy?

IMO, I don’t mind being charged for downloads over 1GB if they are torrents (something my son may disagree with). With ISPs talking about about charging $2/GB, that could add up fast for harcore torrent fiends. Considering an average torrent movie size is about 1GB (for non-HD or Blu-Ray), that’s still a lot cheaper than going to rent the same movie at the local video store. Personally, I would like to see XX number of GB alotted in your monthly service agreement with your ISP and be charged a higher premium once you exceed that amount.

Video rental stores have been dropping like flies, so maybe the new CRTC ruling will have people start going back to their local video stores and start renting movies again, or maybe people will start going to movie theatres more and help to provide an influx of revenue into local economies.

As Canadians, we need to calmly look at both sides of the issues and really weigh the pros and cons. People get very emotional, especially when it affects their wallets. We have to take a step back and look at what is important in the grand scheme of things. The fact of the matter is that we live in a capitalist society. If I was an owner of an ISP, I would certainly look for ways to increase revenue for myself, my business and my employees. The important thing to remember is that there are two sides to every issue.

Personally, I don’t have a problem with paying for premium services. By the same token I would like to see public Wi-Fi services available for free. Make no mistake, this is a hot issue and we certainly have not heard the last of it.

More than 200,000 people have signed a petition organized by the Vancouver-based open communications advocacy group OpenMedia.ca against the CRTC decision. For those of you that would like to sign the petition against the CRTC ruling, have a look at http://stopthemeter.ca/

The federal government will decide by March 1 whether to reject a CRTC decision on the usage-based internet billing, after Prime Minister Stephen Harper requested a review.

SEO news blog post by @ 5:13 pm on February 3, 2011


 

Why Google Needs To Stand Up For Themselves

For the past week the Internet world has been abuzz with the Google/Verizon deal and how it will affect Net Neutrality.  For those of you who have heard me speak at conferences or listened to my radio show you’ll know that I’m not the biggest supporter of Net Neutrality legislation.  I tend to take a pretty hard line in a debate (almost always against Jim Hedger) but so does he and it makes for an entertaining debate with him referring to me as a closed minded hater of equality and me accusing him  of communist tendencies and wanting to implement policies and laws that counter the entire spirit of capitalism.  It’s a fun debate.

But today we saw eye-to-eye Jim and I.  While we may argue the reasons we agree – we both object to the way that Google is handling the current issue with their Verizon deal that would give their 1′s and 0′s a bit of preferential treatment.  More on that in just a bit.  First – let’s get some basic history on Google’s stand on net neutrality, the arguments of those who oppose net neutrality and go from there.  But first -

What Is Net Neutrality?

Net Neutrality is, at it’s core, the idea that the Internet is a mandatory service and that complete equality is required in the way packets are treated as they flow across it.  The idea that the Telco’s should have the ability to charge more for preferential treatment of certain packages (say … YouTube videos if Google slipped them a few extra bucks) violates this idea.  Well who can argue that?  Don’t I have the same rights to the Internet as everyone else?

The problem arises in that the Telco’s need to pay for the infrastructure and access to that network.  They argue (and let’s remember – we’re all capitalists here) that they have the right to monetize their services in a way that maximized profits.  The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) has opposed Net Neutrality legislation noting that there are consumer protection laws in place that provide the protection in productive ways and that bloating the law books with more jargon isn’t going to make the issue simpler, or solve any problems that aren’t being solved with current legislation as has been witnessed many times – including a decision again Comcast when they tried to restrict access to torrents on their network and were order to stop doing so.  Basically – Net Neutrality is protected even for a file type that is used primarily for exchanging illegal material (yes torrents are used for legitimate purposes but …)

I wrote a lengthy article a couple years ago at http://www.beanstalk-inc.com/articles/news/net-neutrality.htm that explains the basics well and those haven’t changed).  So what has?

The Players

Initially there were two camps, those who opposed net neutrality and those who supported it.  The line was drawn basically based on profit like so:

Against Legislation – the “greedy” Telcos who just want to make a buck.
For Legislation – a bunch of people who stand to profit from it such as Google, Microsoft and others who claim that this will hinder innovation and growth in the technology industry.  To ask them – it has nothing to do with the fact that it would cost them more.

In 2007 Google as on record as saying:

“The nation’s spectrum airwaves are not the birthright of any one company. They are a unique and valuable public resource that belong to all Americans. The FCC’s auction rules are designed to allow U.S. consumers — for the first time — to use their handsets with any network they desire, and download and use the lawful software applications of their choice.”

At the time they were bashing Verizon from taking the stand that the decision by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission), “that would require the eventual winner of the spectrum to offer open devices and applications.” claiming such a decision was, “arbitrary and capricious, unsupported by substantial evidence and otherwise contrary to law.” You can read more about this on Google’s Policy Blog here.

So Here We Are 3 Years Later …

So here we stand 3 years later and Google and Verizon are in bed together working out a deal to prioritize some traffic over others, basically pulling a reference from George Orwell’s Animal Farm that,  “some animals are more equal than others.”  They use the example of medical applications but left the door open to gaming, 3D, entertainment, and more.  I’m sure none of us would have a problem with a heart monitor connected to a  doctor’s office over the Internet getting a priority over an MSN chat but we all know that’s not where this is going or it wouldn’t even be a debate.

Now on the table is that mobile devices should be included in the list of exempt platforms and services.  Alrighty – now we’re getting warmed up.  So they’re OK with the standard old Internet getting Net Neutrality imposed (except for special applications and services as yet to be defined of course)…but mobile, the up-and-comer and largely increasing area of bandwidth consumption and connectivity – that area should be excluded from the legislation?  Here’s where you lost me but not because I think it’s wrong to give preferential treatment but because I don’t like when people are trying to be sly.

Here’s the thing … “not all animals are equal”.  I can’t tell Google that all the can change for a PPC click is $0.40 just to make sure that everyone can afford it.  It’s just not that kind of a world (and I would argue further that it shouldn’t be).

What They Should Have Done …

Verizon has done exactly what they should have.  The way the message was delivered puts any backlash squarely on Google.  I have no advice for them, masterfully executed.

Google should have come forward and said:

“The world has changed in 3 years and we have a lot of great ideas about the direction of mobile that’s going to require that Net Neutrality legislation doesn’t apply.  We need to be able to pay more for preferential bandwidth to insure that we can provide you with the services we know you’ll love at a price you’ll enjoy even more. We want to pay extra so you don’t have to.

We would have called them on going against the policies of earlier but really – there would have been a lot less rumors and conjecture about what was going on. They should have stood up for their actions, admitted they were contrary to their former statements and basically outlined what we all know, the Internet world moves fast and the rules have changed.

Sometimes it’s refreshing to just hear a spade called a spade. I don’t believe that Google has any huge secret plans to bring down the Internet – I think they just want to be more equal. At the end of the day I don’t even disagree with their right to be more equal – they just should have come out and said so. They should have stood up for themselves.

And Now For Some Fun…

And now that you’ve made it to the end of a post on Net Neutrality here’s a video done by “Ask A Ninja” on net Neutrality:

SEO news blog post by @ 10:47 pm on August 12, 2010

Categories:Google,Net Neutrality

 

Save The Internet !!!

The fine folks over at SaveTheInternet.com are at it again. Thanks to Rep. Ed Markey the Net Neutrality issue is back on the table. For those of you who don’t know the net neutrality issue, you can ignore this unless you have a website or an Internet connection.

I’m not going to get into a lesson on net neutrality – it’s a huge topic that’s been better covered by others. Here are some links to important information on it:

If you agree that net neutrality is an important issue and show be the law (read: if your website and/or Internet access are important to you) then please sign the petition on the SaveTheInternet.com site.

SEO news blog post by @ 3:42 pm on February 13, 2008


 

Net Neutrality Revealed

Today of Webmaster Radio Jim Hedger and I discussed (for the entire show) the topic of Net Neutrality and why we need to keep equal access to the Internet available for all. We interviewed Timothy Carr, Campaign Director for SaveTheInternet.com. Tim helped us cover why Net Neutrality is an important issue and he provides us all with methods to be heard and make sure the Telcos don’t have their way. Following Tim was Senator Dorgan who introduced the Internet Freedom Preservation Act into congress.

It was likely our best show to date and covers an extremely important topic. Anyone with a website should give it a listen and then get their voices heard.

SEO news blog post by @ 10:02 pm on May 17, 2007

Categories:Net Neutrality

 

Interview With Sentor Dorgan

I had the great pleasure of chatting with Senator Dorgan yesterday for a few minutes. The content of the interview will be aired tomorrow on my weekly Webmaster Radio radio show with co-host Jim Hedger. Mr. Dorgan introduced the ‘Internet Freedom Preservation Act’ into congress to help preserve net neutrality.

On the show tomorrow we will also be speaking with Craig Aaron from SaveTheInternet.com, a website and coalition dedicated to preserving net neutrality. It’ll be a great show.

Now I’m going to admit my bias, I support net neutrality but with that I have to give fair time to each side so here we have clips of Senator Dorgan (supports net neutrality) and Senator Stevens (against). You be the judge:

Senator Dorgan speaking in support of net neutrality:

Senator Stevens speaking against net neutrality:

Video removed

See … I might be biased but I feel it’s only fair to give time for each side to voice their opinions. ;)

SEO news blog post by @ 1:39 pm on May 16, 2007

Categories:Net Neutrality

 

Mark Joyner On Webmaster Radio

As our regular readers will know, I host a show every Thursday with Jim Hedger on Webmaster Radio. Today we discussed a few alternative engines that I like including:

  • Everyclick.com – they give 50% of all their prifits to charity and are the fastest growing engine in the UK.
  • WhoToTalkTo.com – an interesting take on job search engines that require people looking for job to post one they know about before they can search.
  • Wize.com – a very interesting shopping engine with a great product ranking system.
  • Cranky.com – A search engine for people 50-100. This is the only engine where you’ll find “jobs after retirement” as the #2 most searched phrase and “sex” at #10.

We then discussed the new proposed Internet Freedom Preservation Act which helps protect net neutrality. This is important news for anyone with a website. This cross-party act seeks to protect us from having the major Telcos offer competitive advantages to those with bigger wallets regarding how all those 1′s and 0′s move around the ‘net.

And Then Mark Joyner

It was after our news segment that Jim and I had the privalege of chatting with Mark Joyner, Internet Marketing guru and, as we found out, all-round good guy.

While I expected and prepped for an interview based more on the functional aspects of Internet Marketing and his rise to the top, we spent more time discussing how to better your life and the lives of those around you, him military past and some new offering he’s providing to help him fund his philanthropic endeavors.

His new course (free) offers a variety of tips on how to be more effective. As I discovered in watching the first couple lessons: a lot of it istuff you do or should know – you’ve just learned to ignore the obvious (I know, I do too).

A lot of what he says makes a lot of sense and while every person’s opinion is just that (their opinion) the free courses are definitely worth the time to watch (and hey, at that price all you stand to lose is an hour of your life and that’s if you watch them all).

Here are some links from My. Joyner:

So it was a big show. I would highly recommend giving it a listen (it will be posted on the Webmaster Radio site sometime tomorrow).

As an aside:

And in other news, there has been a Google update for existing sites (sites with PR0 will not find increases). This appears to be an updating of internal pages more than a full-blown update. We have not noticed much in the way of ranking changes.

SEO news blog post by @ 5:58 pm on January 11, 2007

Categories:Net Neutrality

 

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