Taking on Tom Wheeler and the ISP's of Doom: a center to see what you can do to stop them
Here's a 101 on the premise of Comcast proposing 'fast lanes' and capped data now:
- Comcast has extensively lobbied congress, including over $1.5 mil to congressional candidates. [link]
- For those who have not heard by now, Chairman Tom Wheeler of the FCC was a former lobbyist for the cable & wireless industry. He was also the president of the National Cable Television Association (NCTA) and Cellular Telecommunication & Internet Association (CTIA). The reason I am reiterate things you may have heard or seen on Wikipedia is this:
- The current President & CEO of the NCTA is Michael Powell, the former head of the FCC.
- Prior to Powell was Kyle McSlarrow who left to head Comcast's lobbying efforts.
- In addition to Powell leaving the FCC, in 2011 FCC commissioner left to join Comcast after overseeing the merge of Comcast and NBC Universal.
Is anyone seeing the connections?!
People in the cable / broadband regulation business are in the same game but changing sides. One could really debate if there are sides at all. Enraged ISP subscribers can easily point fingers and say they are all on the same bankroll somehow (probably Comcast, because hey why not?).
I for one will not tolerate a future where my broadband is capped. Have unlimited data when it came out and being grandfathered into the eventual '5 GB then we throttle you, and possibly bill you' plan was demeaning enough. It makes no sense that we would have had a more open and accessible internet than our future generations. Nilay Patel wrote an analogy of the FCC and the TSA. He laid out some good points there, but it's just ludicrous to be thinking of anyway this would be ok - ISP should absolutely not be allowed to discriminate the data flow in their pipes, or charge more for 'faster access' when they barely reach their full capabilities as it is. This is a profiteering scheme, one that will not result in any real innovations.Think about it: We are in an era where your game console may download a new game over night that's over 30 GB for one game. Netflix is going to stream 4k; imagine when more services start to do the same. Cloud backups for computers has been and still is picking up pace. That month where you binged all of Breaking Bad in 4k, downloaded the newest OS for your shiny laptop, and went on a Steam sale or Playstation Store spree, and FaceTimed in HD for hours with your best friend could end up being way past 300 GB. Unless you know how to make Pied Piper's compression a reality (HBO show reference for those who are lost), the file size issue is going to remain.
So what can we do?
The first thing is to get in touch with our members of congress. Unless your representative is blinded by lobbying money, I'm pretty sure he and his constituents can get aboard the idea of not having the internet we use in our homes capped regardless of political affiliation.
As for providing more competition and better speeds? That's a different battle, but an important one that needs more awareness and actions instead of complaints. I'm just a 20-something with a loud mouth who does not want to live in a future where the greedy executives money-bagged our internet away. Maybe one of you knows more on how competition can be spurred to result in healthy broadband offerings. Does it need government regulation or just a juggernaut like Google Fiber and smaller ISP companies expanding their coverage with superior services?
Please give comments and suggestions below. I'll place convenient links for anyone to get in touch with their local representatives here. Also feel free to sign petitions on the White House's website related to net neutrality.
Some of these petitions are in dire need of signatures to get a response: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petitions/all/0/2/157
Contact your elected government official: http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml