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Don't Neuter the Net!

October 14, 2014 Gerry Fleming

As the topic of Net Neutrality continues, here's our break down of the debate.

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Neuter Net

The topic of Net Neutrality continues to debate and will be hitting a critical mass. This could be because politicians, movie stars and business leaders have all made public statements, but the fact is the FCC is being driven by carriers to push the agenda. We are talking HUGE money! Carriers can produce billions of dollars by diverting traffic to the “fast lane”.

I have interviewed several people, to find, most are suspicious of the ISP’s intentions of creating these preferred avenues. The only benefit the public sees, seems to stem around the ability to watch “Game of Thrones” on Netflix without any worry of response times. If you look at the growth of the Internet and who transports the information, it is very clear.

I break down the debate as the following:

  1. What devices use the internet? In 2013, 33% of the internet’s traffic is from wireless devices. It is anticipated, this traffic will increase to over 50% by 2018. Wireless Carrier Agenda, huh?
  2. How much traffic is on the Global Internet? Over the last 5 years, the global IP traffic has grown fivefold. It is anticipated traffic will continue to grow three fold through 2018. IP traffic for North America will reach 40 exabytes a month by 2018.
  3. How much traffic does this equate too, really? 2013 produced 51 exabytes of data a month. Take your 1 Terabyte drive in your computer and times that by a million; or to sound cool at a party, an Exabyte is one quintillion bytes. In 1992, Global Internet Traffic was gauged at 100 GB per day. Today, we use 28,875 GB per second.

As the debate heats up and the FCC is trying to put its finger in the dam, the content and carriers are all putting their spin on how this effects all of us. Google’s recent silence is interesting as well. Many articles say they are hedging their bets with Google Fiber. I think bandwidth is the modern day gold rush.

Politicians, such as Hillary Clinton, earlier today, emphasized the importance of Net Neutrality. Maintaining an “open Internet” is a critical, asserted Clinton, going on to outline how the U.S. Department of State “kept trying to spend money to defend those rights” during her tenure as chief of the bureau.

President Obama has also addressed this issue, but not really. He recently spoke in Santa Monica (Silicon Beach) and replied to a question on net neutrality, “I made a commitment very early on that I am unequivocally committed to net neutrality,” Obama said, earning a round of applause from the tech-minded crowd. “I think it is what has unleashed the power of the Internet and we don’t want to lose that or clog up the pipes.”

“Now the FCC is an independent agency,” Obama said. “They came out with some preliminary rules that I think the netroots and a lot of folks in favor of net neutrality were concerned with. My appointee, Tom Wheeler, who knows my position. I can’t—now that he’s there, I can’t just call him up and tell him exactly what to do.”

Bottom line; I cannot see how this would enhance my internet experience. All the costs from the “fast lane” are coming out of someone’s pocket, which usually means it will trickle down to the public. How about this idea? Write better applications that don’t use so much bandwidth? Figure out a way to compress and decompress the data to use the bandwidth more effectively. If the carriers are that worried, throw a little R&D towards a similar technology. Like I mentioned: The Modern Gold Rush is Data.

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