Net Neutrality — A Letter to US Senator Arlen Specter

After seeing the news article “FCC rules Comcast violated Internet access policy” I was reminded of the importance of net neutrality. So since I’m located in Pennsylvania, I decided to right US Senator Arlen Specter. You can read my letter below.

Dear Mr. Specter,

After seeing the news article this morning “FCC rules Comcast violated Internet access policy” this morning I was reminded of the importance of “net neutrality”. I commend the FCC for taking a stand with Comcast. Comcast is a huge business that in most areas operates almost as a monopoly, yet they continue to cry that their infrastructure is being unfairly used. They claim that companies and people are getting a free ride on their pipeline. I always get a kick out of how they try to justify the policy of slowing down different types of traffic just because that type is popular. One example is Google. They talked about implementing a way to slow traffic to companies such as Google and then charging them a higher fee so that the traffic will run at normal speeds. That sounds like a form of racketeering, which is not unlike what the mob does when they force people to pay for protection. “Protection from what?”, you ask. In actuality the money being paid is to protect the victims from the mob itself.

The idea of slowing different types of traffic could also be equated to Microsoft saying you can install any program on a Windows computer, but you will have to pay MS more money so the software will run correctly.

Companies like Comcast feel that they can’t support their networks with the fees they are charging, but their fees continue to go up and they continue to see profits and growth. Comcast Reports First Quarter 2008 Results Furthermore do they really think that Google and friends are not paying for their connection the internet? I would be interested in seeing the numbers on how much they pay to keep all their data centers connected… It’s not like they are running a billion dollar business on a dial up connection that costs them only a few dollars a month. Plus, all those people using Google, are they not paying for their connection as well?

As a business owner myself I support finding creative ways for new revenue, but it has to be done in an ethical manner. If the telcos are allowed to decide at what speed traffic travels over their networks it will stifle the economy. There are number of reasons this is true. For instance, the US has become a service economy and many of those services are performed via the internet. Many companies live or die by their ability to reach customers online. There is also a big conflict of interest for the telcos/cable companies. For example a company such as the VOIP breakthrough Vonage could be squashed out of existence if Comcast decided they wanted to hinder Vonage’s VOIP traffic. Since Comcast also has a VOIP service this would give them an unfair advantage. Then where does it stop? The telcos could start picking off different markets by eliminating their competition in this manner.

Then fundamental idea of the internet is based on neutrality. This has created new economies, new markets and new jobs. Allowing the telcos/cable cos to hold companies and individuals hostage would be disservice to the country and its people.

For further information about net neutrality please visit: savetheinternet.com

Best regards,
Bryan Coe

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