Iner-net FREEDOMWednesday, June 09, 2010 By Meghan Compeau
Meghan Compeau Assignments Editor As it stands, an internet user, regardless of what service they’re getting their internet from, can do pretty much anything they want on the internet for the flat rate of their provider (unless they’re doing something like World of Warcraft , or anything that requires a subscription). But what if Comcast or Verizon could decide to charge an internet user for every megabyte of information they would want to email to themselves, send to a friend, or download off of somebody’s blog? Well, that’s exactly what these providers aim to do, and it’s completely legal. Leslie Harris of ABC News points out that “Broadband carriers do not need to play by [the rules of Dial Up], and concern is growing that pressures to manage increasingly complicated broadband networks and maximize revenues will lead carriers to seek increasing levels of centralized control…” which would mean more money being charged by the internet providers, and more money that comes out of pocket for consumers. There is one thing standing in the way of this hostile takeover of the internet, and that is the FCC. They’ve taken on the complicated task of regulating broadband networks, and keeping the Internet a “neutral” place in the appropriately named task of net neutrality. The FCC is going to have to provide enough flexibility to deal with congestion and network issues, while still finding a way to keep the internet open enough to welcome new technologies and advances like it’s done since the creation of the World Wide Web. It won’t be easy, with political figures like Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) defending provider’s rights to do whatever they want with their offered internet service. His proposed bill, the Internet Freedom Act, states that the FCC has no right to regulate broadband providers, and that they should be free to discriminate and promote types of Web traffic of their choosing, and that includes charging people for it. People against this movement have been broadcasting commercials, claiming that the FCC is going to “take over the internet” and regulate content as well as broadband access; however, the FCC’s new agenda doesn’t mention content control in the least, and they are rebutting this claim constantly. McCain and supporters claim that “the free market can police itself” but doesn’t address the potential cancelling of peer-to-peer services that Comcast attempted, or the blocking of VoIP servers that AT&T attempted. Net neutrality rules are going to make-or-break the freedom of the internet, it all depends on which passes first.