This week the FCC will be voting on Net Neutrality. FCC chair and former Verizon lawyer, Ajit Pai, would like to go way beyond just ending Net SuNeutrality. Don’t think that we only have to be concerned about getting stuck in a slow lane, the FCC may let ISPs keep you from using the on ramp to the information super highway. With respect to well documented cases like Bit Torrent, Pai has argued that the history of ISPs like Comcast blocking the use of certain technologies (that threatened their market position) is no big deal. The argument offered by the likes of Verizon, AT&T, Comcast and Time Warner is that they need to be able to have fast and slow lanes in order the better manage networks. Susan Crawford has written and spoken extensively how the US has fallen far behind the rest of the industrialized nations in terms of public access to Broadband Internet because of the monopolistic practices of companies like Comcast.
Unfortunately, it is too easy to create the illusion of scarcity and thus companies get away with things like data caps and extra charges for access.
The Conceptual Problem of Scarcity versus Abundance
The ISP monopolists have hoodwinked the public into thinking that there are “thin pipes” on the Internet and that we have a scarcity of capacity for moving bits around.
I’m on a listserve with members like Bob Frankston, co-creator of Visicalc (the first spreadsheet), who recently posted:
we have an entire telecom industry premised on the assumption that bits are freights hauled across great distances by imaginary mules. Or maybe trains…
Then we take a word that has lost any meaning — broadband — and then want more of it even it means manufacturing an entire industry out of metaphors. Then we talk about a limited amount of bandwidth — like running out of inches or maybe using up the NY skyline.
In a Ted Talk Bob starts with this question to the audience: “How many of you paid your sidewalk provider in order to come here?” So, why do we accept the idea that we will let providers, who must make a profit, decide on what limits they want to impose on our Freedom to Connect?
ISPs Want Regulations When it Protects Them
Republicans and many corporations rail against government regulation, yet they have written state laws to “regulate” away the ability of municipalities to offer their own broadband with claims that the ability to control “right of way” would give some little town an unfair competitive advantage over the likes of AT&T. ISP monopolists have funded the American Legislative Exchange Council, who lobbies state legislatures to limit and even make illegal the construction on municipal broadband networks.
Build Your Own Mesh Network to Protect Your Freedom To Connect
It’s time to bypass the ISP monopolists all together. Peer with other networks at an internet exchange point and provide access to the internet without traditional ISPs. In NYC we have a rapidly growing Mesh Network. https://nycmesh.net
NYC Mesh is a community owned network. Join our network to replace your current internet connection.
Our network consists of Wi-Fi router “nodes” and “supernodes” spread throughout the city. The network connects directly to the internet backbone, so we do not rely on an ISP. All of our network nodes cooperate in the distribution of data, and the network can also function independently in case of emergencies or internet shutdown.
NYC Mesh is a neutral network that does not block or discriminate content. NYC Mesh does not collect, store, monitor, or log any user traffic or content that passes through our network.
Our ASN is AS395853 and we connect to the DE-CIX internet exchange. Please contact us to peer with our network.
Last of all, thank you to John Oliver for goFCCyourself.com . Go there now and give the FCC a piece of your mind.