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About this blog: I am President of Embarcadero Media's East Bay Division and the publisher of the Pleasanton Weekly, Dublin TriValley Views, San Ramon Express and Danville Express. As a 25-plus-year veteran of the media industry, I have experience...  (More)

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Bandwidth and the spinning wheel: Net neutrality

Uploaded: Sep 10, 2014
Have you seen it? As you've been perusing your favorite websites today, have you noticed the "spinning wheel of doom?"

Today is "Internet Slowdown Day," initiated by "Team Internet" to protest proposed changes to net neutrality rules. The "spinning wheel" is being used on websites such as Netflix, Etsy and Foursquare and others that formed Team Internet. These advocates of net neutrality are hoping users will learn about what net neutrality is and how it will affect them. Then maybe those users will to to the Battle for the Net website where they can sign a letter to Congress, the Federal Communications Commission and the White House before the public comment period ends on Sept. 15.

Net neutrality in the most basic terms is keeping the Internet speed the same for everyone. Opponents of net neutrality want to charge for bandwidth, which is like the pipeline for data, and say that the funding is necessary to continue developing new and improved services. However, without net neutrality, services we get without a fee now will not work as well, if at all, because as Michael Weinberg, vice president at the digital advocacy group Public Knowledge, put it, those who don't pay won't be in the ISP's "fast lane."

Another consequence is that some businesses have to use a lot of bandwidth, like Netflix when it streams movies. These companies would have to pay the ISP's more to have the bandwidth to run the business. Who do you think will eventually end of paying those fees? Will they be "passed along to the consumer?" My guess is yes.

This will also create a further "digital divide" between higher and lower socio-economic groups. Not only will people have to pay for hardware and an Internet connection, but they will have to pay for bandwidth for speed, which means that some services won't even be available to them. Do you or anyone in your household watch videotaped school board or city council meetings on CCTV or TV30? YouTube videos of cute kids or kittens? Those use a lot of bandwidth.

TechCrunch has a good article that explains both sides. I encourage you to become educated about this because one way or another it will have long-term effects.
Local Journalism.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Formerly Dan from BC, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Sep 10, 2014 at 6:51 pm

Formerly Dan from BC is a registered user.

"We are from the government, and we are here to help."

Infamous last words...this can only get worse. The feds need to stay out of this and let the marketplace make its decisions.

Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 11, 2014 at 1:25 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.

Don't we already pay for bandwidth? I pay a monthly fee for a Uverse wireless ISP. It ain't cheap! I could go to Starbucks or Peets and get a "free" Internet connection with my $3 cup of coffee. So how is net neutrality different?


Posted by Gina Channell-Allen, a blogger,
on Sep 11, 2014 at 1:34 pm

Gina Channell-Allen is a registered user.

Hi Roz,
You pay for an Internet connection, as does Starbucks. There is net neutrality now, meaning that if I pay Comcast $100 a month and you pay AT&T $75 a month, we are both getting the Internet at the same speed. However, if net neutrality goes away, to get the same speed I'm currently getting, I might have to pay $150. If you stay at your $75 your service will probably slow down because you are paying for the connection but not the speed.

Starbucks will have to pay more, too, to get a good speed for their customers (or not provide free WiFi). So, if Starbucks pays more for faster connection, your $3 cup of coffee will probably become a $4 cup of coffee because they will pass along the increased costs by increasing their prices.

Posted by Formerly Dan from BC, a resident of Bridle Creek,
on Sep 12, 2014 at 10:14 am

Formerly Dan from BC is a registered user.

I admit that net neutrality baffles me somewhat; I see it as a battle between the ISP and internet-driven companies that utilize heaps of bandwidth. It's not about connection or speed, since they are fundamentally different principles.

And Roz is right. I have ATT iPhone service and I definitely pay more for additional data (bandwidth), so the economic theory is there.

It's a very complicated situation...but as I mentioned, I'm sure the government will get it right <---sarcasm.

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