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Goodbye Net Neutrality, Hello Gilded Age Internet

Did you hear about the recent federal appeals court ruling that shot down the terribly-named "net neutrality?"  Most people probably didn't notice the news and aren't quite sure what net neutrality actually means anyway.  Before the court ruling, Internet service providers had to treat all content going through their pipes equally, just like conversations are treated going through a phone line.  That is "net neutrality."
After the ruling, if you're a big company with some bucks, you can pay Verizon, Comcast or a similar ISP to speed your data along faster.  For the right price, your data can jump ahead in line.  ISPs will also be allowed to block content they find objectionable, though they swear they would never ever do that, of course.
Doesn't sound like that big of a deal, right?  Imagine, though, two or more "Internets," one that zips along the latest Netflix movie and another Internet that creeps along, delivering boring old educational material to public libraries.  The Internet will be as fast as you can pay, which seems like a sure way to kill Al Gore's best invention ever.  Enjoy the cartoon, let me know what you think in the comments and be sure to share along the not-so-neutral net.  And as usual, you can find more links to the news behind the cartoon on my website.

Comments (13)

  • Joe Schmoe

    Joe Schmoe

    31 January 2014 at 11:59 |
    Thanks for keeping us informed on this. Great cartoon, as usual.


  • BarryS


    31 January 2014 at 19:59 |
    Freedom only means their freedom to scam more money out of us.


  • Amy


    31 January 2014 at 21:44 |
    Just don't think you are in control, just agree to auto bill pay so your account can be paid in full whenever they want. Don't mind it will take 2 or 3 billing cycles for your account to be accurate.


  • Jeffrey Knudsen

    Jeffrey Knudsen

    31 January 2014 at 22:19 |
    In Japan the 'standard' cable is 100mb. I pay through the nose for 60mb! If I got the standard cable it would be 10mb. The USA is ~ #28 for Internet. They have better Internet in Croatia! "They" said 'Pay TV' would never make it. Guess what?


  • Diana E Forrest

    Diana E Forrest

    01 February 2014 at 00:20 |
    There's one consolation, at least we will know
    The fast sites are rubbish, the good ones are slow.


  • john cronin

    john cronin

    01 February 2014 at 01:19 |
    I didn't realize that, living in Belgium; frightful


  • Claudia


    01 February 2014 at 19:04 |
    Now that they have gotten us addicted to the Internet, they are planning on charging us for everything. It figures. Wake up, people, the corporations and rich are about to take over. They will eventually control everything if we don't stop them.


  • TS


    01 February 2014 at 19:56 |
    Funny, I have Comcast, and while using Chrome, all of the sites I went to to view the comic wouldn't load the image! Good to see they can do some things in a timely manner, even if that something is a fascist dictatorship.


  • Charlie Biel

    Charlie Biel

    01 February 2014 at 23:15 |
    I am now 67. Getting schooled in the post WWII - Cold War period, I was shown the things to look for that indicated Communism was taking control of the government in a country and putting an end to the possibility of individual freedom and democratic progress. Interesting that one of the main examples was the control of communication and information to the people. They fear us and our ability to resolve the differences that are encouraged to keep the people from uniting and forming a better world that rejects the power and money hungry few.


  • Rick Spisak

    Rick Spisak

    02 February 2014 at 01:59 |
    Awesome well done
    it should help many more people understand, why this is a battle about ideas and whose INTERNET is it?


  • Ed Bradford

    Ed Bradford

    02 February 2014 at 02:09 |
    Net neutrality is about giving politicians and presidents who issue executive orders, create regulations and decide which laws they will enforce the power over the Internet. America is protected from a single humongous Federal Government (partisan) monopoly by allowing the oligopoly to manage their respective infrastructures. Having the FCC simply decide on its own to regulate the Internet is absurd as the courts and most people understand. If America want the Internet to be regulated by a partisan government, then America should pass a law.


  • Doug Stewart

    Doug Stewart

    02 February 2014 at 02:10 |
    Big business has to do all they can to stop ordinary people from joining their ranks, possibly unseating one of them. This will stifle creativity and hamstring innovation.


  • HPS


    12 May 2014 at 15:02 |
    It's funny to read how many people seem to not have understood the cartoon in fact.
    It is a battle between carriers and providers not carriers and subscribers ...
    Do you beleive that your monthly subscription fee for HSI to your ISP is enough to support the infrastructure evolution in face of your constantly increasing bandwidth consumption?
    When you buy a book at your favorite online store, you do have the option to pay more for express delivery. How is that different from netflix paying Verizon for QoS to reach you? Yes in one case it's you and in the other it's the provider, but the analogy is that in both cases the transporter gets money for a specific service.
    Paying for an enhanced service is everywhere around us, that is the base principle of a commercial service. On what basis (except may be from the legacy of Internet original vision) should Internet, which became a plateform for worldwide e-commerce, not be subject to the same principles? One might be afraid that these are the early signs of the disappearance of Best-Effort web sites and content, but I doubt: planes with first class only are not for today nor tomorrow.


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