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Broad-Band Aid?

MusicNet NeutralityIn a desperate attempt to stave off total obscurity, a group of wannabe and has been chick rockers [Jill Sobule, Kay Hanley (of Letters to Cleo) and Michelle Lewis) have formed The Broadband and released a really stupid song called God Save The Internet via the Save The Internet website.

It really is amazing that people have this bizarre notion of the Internet as some sort of public good that needs saving. It really speaks to the point that most people have absolutely no idea what the Internet is. They seem to believe that there is this big thing that is autonomous that they are accessing.

The Internet is a huge collection of private networks. It is like Spandex. It is a privilege, not a right. It is not something granted to us by the Constitution, but something that businesses have created (granted based on a seed planted by government research funds) and offer to us for a fee. Now they simply want to offer various aspects of it to other businesses for a fee rather than making you pay the whole bill.

The fee they charge you is set to rise dramatically, but that concept appears to be lost on the net neut crowd. Frankly, I don’t ever use Google video. If I did, and had to pay $4 per show rather than paying $560 per month for my broadband connection, I’d fork over the $4. Granted, there are a lot of people who watch YouTube and don’t want to pay $1 per video. That’s fine. It just means that the video will be of less quality than the Google video at $4.

It’s called economics. If someone is going to provide something (in this case high speed Internet connections) they want to get compensated for it. Like I said, if you want it for free, then ask the government to provide it through your taxes. They can buy the networks from the companies that have invested billions in them, and those companies can reinvest in something else. But don’t be so naive as to believe that these companies somehow “owe” you the Internet.

(Disclaimer: While I work for the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, this post should in no way be construed as an official position of the Association. Thoughts in this space are mine and mine alone and do not reflect the views of my employer.)

Written by Michael Turk