Net Neutrality and My Work!

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Day 83

Although we knew the summer weather we had wouldn’t last, it’s left a lot quicker than anyone thought. Right now, the wind is blowing pretty good – bending the little tree we have on our deck back and forth. We’re hoping they’ve tied down everything at the construction site that isn’t super heavy. I think it’s supposed to start raining tomorrow and on into the weekend. We’re hoping it clears up by Sunday though because Josh has a Seattle-to-Portland training ride that day.

Even with the sun gone, though, today was a pretty good day. You may have heard on the news that there were protests in Seattle over net neutrality – well, Kiro 7 Eyewitness News stopped by where I work and interviewed the owner! We started as an internet business that then grew into having a store front and keeping the internet as a level playing field makes a big difference. I learned a bit about it today and I think this example sums it up well: imagine there are four lanes of equally slow traffic. Suddenly, a fifth lane appears. You go to move into that lane, but the police appear and tell you the faster lane is only for the people that pay to use it. So you then watch all of the people that can afford to pay the $100 fee for faster lane switch over while you’re stuck in traffic with thousands of others because you can’t afford to pay for the faster lane. Although this is a very simplistic explanation, I think it gets the gist across well.

Suddenly, we’re going from a service that is available to all at a certain speed – businesses large and small, bloggers, news organizations, social media sites – to big businesses wanting to purchase faster speed. This means that big companies with deeper pockets will be able to pay for that faster lane, allowing their sites to load much, much quicker than those that can’t afford to pay. Those companies that can’t afford to pay will be left behind. As a population, we’re impatient enough as it is. Can you imagine waiting five minutes for a small book publisher website to load when you could head over to Amazon and buy the same book in half the time? That is what net neutrality (as I understand it) is about.

If you stop to think about it, the fight being waged over net neutrality is a fight over free speech. If the internet isn’t kept as a level playing field, this means those that can afford the price tag for faster loading speed will be seen and heard more often than those that can’t afford the expense. It boils down to the fact that you should not have more of a say because you can afford to count out the money.

Although this explanation isn’t really a happy thing (and might not be entirely correct) being more informed is a happy thing and I’m glad I got to learn more about something new!