Don't neuter the Net

Senator Ron Wyden: We love you. Wyden's the Oregon Democrat who introduced legislation this week seeking to end this attack on Net neutrality.

In case you're not fully aware, the big telecom and cable broadband vendors have proposed some legislation seeking to put the Internet on a two- or three-tiered pricing model -- with the little side benefit of handing completely unregulated network management capabilities to the bandwidth providers (i.e., Verizon, MCI, whomever). That would mean they could do things like block independent service traffic in favor of their own (usually less innovative and overpriced) services. Wyden's proposed legislation would make ISPs treat content equally. Go Wyden, go.

Naturally, matters would only get worse as the Bells continue gobbling each other up. AT&T's US$67 billion deal to buy BellSouth (and thereby pretty much resurrect Ma Bell) is the latest, but the recent spate includes Verizon chomping down MCI, SBC munch-merging with AT&T, and that whole who-owns-Cingular-now fiasco. Combine ever-fewer broadband pipe providers with legislation designed to give them practically dictatorial powers over what is and isn't allowed on the Web, and you've just taken the baby seal that is the Internet economy and bashed its fuzzy little head in with a club.

Although I'm not yet 100 percent behind actually socializing bandwidth, the Internet's pipes must remain neutral. If backbone providers get enough power to block independent services, then things like low-cost SMB VoIP from value providers such as Whaleback Systems are history. It'll also kill a lot of the Internet entrepreneurial fervor that's been bolstering a piece of America's (and probably to a greater extent India's) economy of late.

I understand the drive for profit. But these telecom clowns are going overboard in a really nasty way. We're already significantly behind the rest of the world in per capita broadband permeation, thanks to their insistence on hawking outdated technology. Now, they're looking to kill a whole second economy in a greedy grab for profits they've really done nothing to deserve. Even Hollywood knows it: Long-term, Nash beats Gekko every time.

Oh, and in case you're wondering how this relates to an Enterprise Windows column, consider what your outsourced Exchange hosting costs suddenly become when Verizon gets to crank up the hosting provider rates -- with no cap. Or your outsourced spam filtering. Or your Web hosting. Or that off-site Internet-based backup solution you're using for disaster recovery. Or your branch office VPN costs. Or that neat little Web-based team collaboration and wiki service. I could go on, but you get the idea.

I'm moaning about the Internet economy as though this is purely an entrepreneurial issue. But it's not. This Net Neutering legislation allows the backbone bullies to differentiate between "Internet business" and "consumer" traffic. That means they could ratchet up the price on pretty much anything they can recognize above layer 5. No, they probably wouldn't jack up your branch-office VPN costs if you're managing that stuff in-house, but if you're not, then they will ratchet it up on your VPN management provider. Or any similar outsourced service provider.

Which, of course, means those providers will have to try to pass those costs on to you. And there goes your outsourced IT cost savings. Whole new budget; whole new ball game.

Buy a few copies of your congressperson's memoirs. Date your senator's son or daughter. E-mail your governor. Do what you need to do, but help this Wyden guy, or we're all going to suffer in a few years.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Oliver Rist

Show Comments

Cool Tech

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Stage - Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Nakamichi Delta 100 3-Way Hi Fi Speaker System

Learn more >

Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch

Learn more >

Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 9000 Toothbrush

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

SunnyBunny Snowflakes 20 LED Solar Powered Fairy String

Learn more >

Teac 7 inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers


This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang


It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries


As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr


The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?