Net Neutrality Fear Mongering

There’s a new video up on YouTube from a group of net neutrality activists who are using their prior fame on the net neutrality issue to basically send waves of fear among the poorly educated of netizens. They are saying that “all the major ISPs” are under “the NDA” which surrounds a business move to change the way we access content online, forcing people to go down a subscription model for online content.

Let me make this perfectly clear: THIS CAN’T HAPPEN.

With public sector access to content and private content provision, no ISP will be able to go forward with so insane a plan. This fear mongering is totally unfounded, totally unsupported and totally absurd. As a business person involved in online media I can say with absolute assurance that any business person with a brain would not actually consider such a change in the business model of the internet and telecommunications infrastructure. This is *exactly* what Microsoft tried to do with the original MSN, and found that the business failed, and failed extremely badly. Any syndicate of companies that attempted such a ridiculous move would soon find themselves broke. The information society doesn’t tolerate bottlenecks to information access, and these wannabes are suggesting that major companies are stupid enough to be contemplating such a suicidal business decision – to bottleneck access and to charge a premium for full internet access. What absolute rubbish!

This video reminds me strongly of a television ‘doco’ I used to show my undergrads called, ‘You Have No Secrets‘ which was completely hilarious as a warning program on reduced personal privacy, with talking heads providing harrowing tales of privacy infringement over foreboding music. This is exactly the same thing – so stupid it’s funny. Now the reason why I showed the privacy video to my undergrads is because I felt it was handy to inject them with a healthy dose of paranoia, so that they would be aware but not alarmed about the changes taking place. The trouble with this new video is that people are taking it far too seriously. As usual, a bunch of shaggy geeks trying to tell us what decisions businesses are making without providing any sources and indeed with precious little connection to reality is somehow more convincing than sheer business sense. And as a result, the very real issue of net neutrality is being damaged by the simplistic and irrelevant arguments of a minority of business morons.

Net neutrality is NOT at risk from a supposed cadre of ISPs contemplating subscription based access models. It is at risk from improperly maintained networks and inadequate regulation. Don’t be fooled by simplistic arguments. Learn about telecommunications policy and understand the issue; don’t become a conspiracy theorist for something that has been brewing for nearly 30 years.

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