Tag Archives: FCC

How Should Traffic Be Managed on the Information Superhighway?

Internet traffic should flow freely and equally. Photo Credit: tricky (rick harrison) via Compfight cc
Internet traffic should flow freely and equally.
Photo Credit: tricky (rick harrison) via Compfight cc

I’m glad to see that NPR’s headline about today’s FCC vote uses the phrase Internet traffic. Unlike net neutrality, the traffic metaphor suggests movement and action.

It also brings power to mind. Who is managing the traffic and to what end?

In a letter to the editor, I used the phrase Internet traffic speed. While writing, I thought it important to include the word speed because speed seemed like the issue was about. But now I see that speed is only one dimension of Internet traffic. Other important dimensions include political control of Internet traffic and the moral values of equality and freedom that underly the Web.

What do you think? Should managing Internet traffic replace Net neutrality, or am I splitting hairs?


Net Neutrality: What’s at Stake?

Internet connection
There’s nothing to stop ISPs to slow down or block our access to websites on home Internet connections. Americans have never enjoyed net neutrality protection on mobile Internet connections.
Photo Credit: wheresmysocks via Compfight cc

As I understand last week’s court decision that overturned the FCC’s net neutrality rules, Internet service providers (ISPs) now can slow down or block access to any website they choose.

As pointed out in this On the Media story, ISPs’ interest in this power likely is to be able to charge other companies more money rather than trying to silence blogs such as this one. For example, Comcast might try to charge Netflix or Amazon more money to use its network.

Support Net Neutrality
Net neutrality is about freedom of speech, and we should talk about it that way.
Photo Credit: Brian Lane Winfield Moore via Compfight cc

But there’s nothing to stop them from squelching online speech.

Would Americans accept it if the US government claimed the power to slow down or block any website it chose? This illustrates George Lakoff’s principle of the conservation of government: that less government regulation means that corporations decide. In this case, it’s the big ISPs.

On the Media also points out that net neutrality has never applied to mobile Internet access, just home in-the-wall connections. But it should apply to any Internet access.

I’ve also heard net neutrality called Internet freedom. I think that’s better way to frame the issue because it makes clearer that freedom is at stake: freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of commerce, at a minimum. While accurate, neutrality doesn’t carry that moral punch.

Another potential phrase is online equality.

How do you think Framologists should talk about equal bandwidth access?