Devil5052 wrote:So how do you stop the media from doing these things in a free society? My view is that you simply allow all sides to have equal access to the public airwaves, newspapers, etc....& let the American voters sort it out.
You have that now, it's called the internet. That's why it's of utmost importance that anytime you see the two words "net neutrality" put together in the next couple of years you pay very close attention to what your legislator is doing. This is by far the the most important thing regarding freedom of speech, how and what you can use to communicate and a whole lot of other issues. I rarely see this mentioned in the mainstream news and for the most part its rarely mentioned outside of tech circles.
"Net Neutrlality" as defined by wikipedia:
Network neutrality (equivalently net neutrality, Internet neutrality or simply NN) refers to a principle that is applied to residential broadband networks, and potentially to all networks. Precise definitions vary, but a broadband network free of restrictions on the kinds of equipment that may be attached, on the modes of communication allowed, that does not restrict content, sites, or platforms and where communication is not unreasonably degraded by other communication streams would be considered neutral by most observers
This is for the most parts what you have now however there are no laws in place that mandate that ISP's need to adhere to this principal and in the last year or so have begun to test the waters as to how far they can take it. Case in point is many ISP's are blocking P2P traffic which is commonly used for exchanging copyrighted files but it certainly has other uses too, if you wanted to exchange a very large file with someone else this is the best way to do it. What they will do is monitor the port that this type of software uses, if you are using excessive bandwidth on that port they will simply turn it off. The best analogy I've heard is its as if you were having a phone conversation with someone and the operator cur in and said "Sorry I have to hang up." They have also been accused of interfereing with other traffic such as VOIP which is used to make internet phone calls, coincidentally this usually occurs right after they introduce their own pay-for services.
There is really two distinct forks to this issue, the two examples provided above are one and too some extent I can agree with the cable companies. If everyone ran a P2P connection the network would come to halt. The simple solution to that is to offer tiered pricing on their connections. You pay for X amount of bandwidth that's what you get, you wanna watch video 24/7 you pay for it.
The other fork and more important issue is they want to provide tiered service to content poviders such as myself. As of right now the only thing limiting the speed at which you can download from this site is how fast my server is. If for example I have a server as fast as cnn.com you'll get the data at the very same rate. Everyone is on relatively nice even playing field, if I want to start a site that provides high bandwidth video 24/7 the only thing I have to do is come up with the cash to pay for the server which is and should be my problem.
That will change If they get their wishes because they will be able to throttle connections speeds "at the pole" so to speak. Small sites or sites just getting started will not have the resources to pay for this tiered service and will not be able to compete against large media outlets. At first glance that doesn't sound all that bad because this would help the consumer with lower bills and that may very well be the case. However no one likes a slow web site, the large media corporations and ISP's themselves will be able to push their own services at a much higher speed.
What is important here is we are in transitional period, the airwaves, cable TV and any other traditional forms of communication you use are going to be a thing of the past a lot faster than anyone thinks. That cable coming into your house is going to be the single link to all of these services. The cable companies and to some extent the phone companies are the only services that have the network capacity to provide the necessary bandwidth.
"Cable TV" will become content on demand . As a consumer if I want to watch high bandwidth video over the internet the only choice I have is cable, DSL does not even come close to the necessary bandwidth. In nearly every place in the U.S. cable companies hold a monopoly over the consumer as it is now. As a content provider or consumer the only choice I have is cable. As such the cable companies should not be allowed to control the bandwidth, they should be classified as public utility just like the phone company and not be able to dictate how who you "call" and whether the company on the other end is going to be able to talk back or how long the conversation may be.
If this ever comes to fruition it will limit your choices as a consumer and perpetuate the stranglehold on the content available to you that large media outlets and cable companies have had or do have now.