Mindbox Studios had the opportunity to join 14 other concerned citizens at Colorado Senator Udall’s office. Free Press organized a meeting to discuss the growing concern many citizens have about the possibility of not keeping the net neutral (essentially a free and open internet). In the last 18 months there has been a growing concern that big telecom companies with their lobbying power will sway both the FCC led by Tom Wheeler (a former cable company head) and create fast and slow lanes on the internet. Essentially what this will do is create a situation similar to a toll road and the people, businesses, and general consumers who want faster content will have to pay the “toll” to get that faster speed. This has very serious detrimental effects on a myriad of aspects of our society. The telecomm companies say that this will actually speed the internet up and that currently we are all experiencing traffic jams and thus this solution will actually help internet traffic.
As many of the minds in the room at the Senators office pointed out yesterday, the internet is based on a node system and there is no such thing as traffic jams, The only way this would happen on the internet is if it were intentionally fabricated to do so. Mindbox was able to share our experience helping small businesses and startups over the past 8 years and let the voice for an open and free internet be heard.
Here is a list of the four main areas of society that would be effected if the internet was no longer “free or level playing ground”:
- Democracy (Freedom of Speech) – We all on some level get our news, media, and different points of political expression from the internet. Imagine something like the Drudge Report or Huff Post posting an article for or against cable companies or any political form of expression. Right now, in the name of freedom of speech we can all access that information equally. Now imagine a world where we couldn’t access that information due to that provider being in a slow lane or maybe being black listed as controversial and put into a slow lane. Much of the news and information that we intake is not always published by major players who can afford to pay to play. In the name of an open information sharing democracy the internet needs to stay free and open.
- Small Business Competition – We have a long history of working with boot-strappers, hustlers and lean start up visionaries. We know how much launching a business can be and how financially difficult this can be. Creating a pay for play environment would crush small business adding another financial hurdle on the already difficult financial road. This would also allow small businesses the same access to content distribution if they can’t play thus not allowing them to compete fairly against larger companies who have similar ideas or products. It would essentially crush small business on the internet.
- IP Concerns – There is also significant IP concerns. Imagine Skype when it first launched, would AT&T have ever allowed something like this to exist? We are sure they would have replicated the idea and been able to pay for fast lane access thus crushing Skype and never allowing it to be what it is today. We image the same things for Amazon and other great startups that could have been quenched or replicated early on and then crushed by deeper pocket competition who could pay for fast lane access. If I have a start up and I can’t pay for a fast lane, a competitor with deeper pockets can pay for that access and distribution and thus crush my ability to compete evenly on the same playing field, essentially squashing my business.
- General Consumer Products – There is also concern for the Netflix, Spotify, iTunes, Amazon high bandwidth consumers who already pay out of the roof prices for internet, phone and consumer services. Adding this dual internet would add another up charge passed off to consumers to get the same internet we all experience now.
There are many ways to tackle this, but the quickest way to adjust the problem is to have the internet reclassify all ISPs as common carrier. A great primer article on this issue can be found on the Free Press site here.
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Mindbox Studios has had the privilege of serving over hundreds of clients with strategy, design, and development services, many of them in the Denver area. We’d be happy to talk to you about your project and discover ways we can help you with your next web or mobile interactive platform. We are passionate about helping business grow and solve real problems using technology.