Net neutrality refers to a founding principle of the Internet, that the companies in the middle handling the movement of data would treat all packets equally. The telcos and cable companies see a revenue opportunity in charging premium rates for certain traffic, so they began a push to buy legislators and attempt to change the rules. There is no shortage of Republicans available for use by big companies, so telecommunications bills are being drafted to turn on new money spigots for the telcos and cable companies. Here’s more info about net neutrality.
During debate a few days ago, Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) gave an amazing primer about how the Internet works. It really stands out, since it’s wrong in every single way. His comments are worth reading in their entirety – take a minute, it’s only a few paragraphs. A random quote gives the flavor:
“I just the other day got, an internet was sent by my staff at 10 o’clock in the morning on Friday and I just got it yesterday. Why?
“Because it got tangled up with all these things going on the internet commercially.
” . . . They want to deliver vast amounts of information over the internet. And again, the internet is not something you just dump something on. It’s not a truck.
“It’s a series of tubes.
“And if you don’t understand those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and it’s going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material.”
Is that great or what? An internet sent by his staff was delayed because it got tangled up with “all these things going on the internet commercially.” As Cory Doctorow said on Boing Boing, “This man is so far away from having a coherent picture of the Internet’s functionality, it’s like hearing a caveman expound on the future of silver-birds-from-sky and why we need to keep them from flying so high they anger the gods.”