While not codified into law by the government until 2014 network neutrality was the underpinning of a gentlemen’s agreement at the start of the internet as a commercial venture after then Senator Al Gore helped write the legislation that took the military Darpa Net and Educations university network system into what would become the internet we know today. No provider of service would charge another service provide extra fees accept the basic usage costs of phone minutes, and connection access.
When we went from dial-up to broadband through and with the consolidation of telecommunications companies purchasing and becoming content creators we saw those rules being bent. Comcast often tried to block upstart Netflix from its startup streaming service. AT&T like it had done in the 1930s by blocking the release of the answering machine so people would make multiple phone calls tried blocking upstarts like Skype video calls and voice calls as well as apple facetime video calls over the iPhone.
The point of network neutrality is one of simple regulation to protect individuals as they try to get to the market. The market of services, the market of ideas. Any capitalist who was genuine about free markets would be open to competition. But the fact is we see it time and time again that transnational telecom media conglomerates do not want a fair and open markets. They want entrenched monopolies and oligopolies where they can manipulate the regulators to lock out competition and protect their slow and lazy business models.
They want to have a system in which they can strangle upstart competition in the crib by the use of a cudgel of government regulatory capture. This very example can be seen in the shill known as the FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, a former Verizon telecom lawyer who openly mocks people who fear the corporations who have shown time and time again they wish to stagnate technology until they control it and can slowly monetize it in a way that locks out anyone else.
Those who control the media, the corporate overlords are the new feudal lords. They tell us what to think and manipulate us for profit and to push consumerism. This is why the dream of a wealth spring of peer-reviewed knowledge that was the world-wide web, a project by open source technologies created at CERN labs by Sir Tim Berners Lee is dying. In its place we get a private club entrance that limits those to the have and have-nots. Class warfare at its finest.
In a society where you can’t even apply for most if any above-board minimum wage jobs without internet access one must ask how do we go on without seeing it as something as needed as public education or emergency services? And to those who say, “go to the public library” I ask you what hours do most people work and what hours do the libraries stay open where you live? Because most people I know work 9 to 5 and most libraries, particularly in “conservative states”, close at 5, if they even have a public library anymore.