Opinion: Internet should be run without corporate or government interference, Rensselaer Falls man says
Monday, December 11, 2017 - 6:54 am

To the Editor:

In response to “Opinion: Dumping net neutrality is opposite authoritarianism, Morristown resident says” which appeared on North Country Now: Mr. Porter frequently writes letters that are published on North Country Now.

I had never read any of them until this recent article on Net Neutrality, but with a quick Google search I was able to come upon several others that he had written, most of them without supporting facts for his claims and just full of ideological nonsense about how leftists are trying to ruin everything.

After reading his most recent letter about net neutrality, I would venture to guess that Mr. Porter doesn't know much about the internet or how it works. I'm sure he has certain sites that he reads all the time. My guess is that he spends a lot of time on the internet, reading conspiratorial blogs that back up his worldview. I couldn't help but respond to this one because this letter he wrote on net neutrality makes no sense. He just threw a bunch of words together that fit with his political ideology to create some conspiratorial nonsense about how big government is getting in the way of God knows what. But if you'll just take a second and read this, I would like to break the net neutrality issue down for you.

Let's start with some terminology:

Internet service provider (ISP) - this is a middle-man between you and the services you want to reach online. When you want to go to a website, your computer has to communicate with the computers that contain that websites data. Between your computer and that website is your internet service provider, which delivers messages back and forth between your computer and that website's computers. For most of you reading this, that's Spectrum. You used to know Spectrum as Time Warner, but they made that brand worthless by treating their customers terribly and delivering bad service. So they went out and merged with another company called Charter that had done the same thing.

Voila - a new company was formed and called Spectrum. There are all kinds of companies out there that provide these services. Look up customers' reviews about these companies and they're all the same. They are among the least positively reviewed companies in the world. They are almost universally despised.

Net neutrality - its a very simple idea, really. It means that your internet service provider (in most of our cases, Spectrum) cannot treat the data that you send to one website any differently than it treats the data you send to another website. Whether its going to Amazon or your local store down the street, your internet service provider has to treat that data the same. It makes it so both pages load at the same rate.

That's the whole idea we're talking about. That's net neutrality.

Whether you're reading the news, reviewing family pictures on Facebook, playing video games, or just surfing the web aimlessly - it all has to be treated the same. And you get what you pay for. If you want fast internet, just pay for Spectrum's premier service and you'll have fast internet. If you're like me and you're cheap, pay for the slower, less expensive service. But whatever service level you choose, you get the same experience no matter what websites you're visiting.

Why would anyone want take out that rule?

Removing net neutrality rules just makes it easier for these universally despised companies to acquire more power and less accountability.

How is that good?

Republicans think its good because there are all kinds of profits to be made by charging businesses to make their websites load faster, or slower, depending on how much the internet service provider can extort out of them. In this scenario, big corporations like Amazon will be fine. They will be able to pay whatever fees the internet service provider requires for peak speeds. Can the local store down the street say the same thing? Is it going to hurt that business if their page takes 5x as long to load as Amazon's does? You bet it is. And that's why the rule exists in the first place.

If Mr. Porter was serious about the problems of broadband infrastructure development, he would point out that these companies have regional monopolies that allow them to be pretty much the only game in town. They have no incentive to improve their service because there is no competition. Case in point, you can't go out and subscribe to Comcast. Most of us are stuck with Spectrum unless we are lucky enough to live in an area where the government has paid SLIC to come in and run fiber-optic lines. But most of us aren't so lucky. Its either Spectrum's cable service, or even less reliable DSL!

Once again, I don't know Mr. Porter. He's probably a nice man, and if I met him on the street I'd probably get along with him great.

But here' the problem: nowhere in his letter does Mr. Porter even remotely demonstrate that he understands what the debate is even about. And yet he feels perfectly comfortable writing a letter to the editor portraying himself as an expert on a topic he doesn't understand. And I'm sure hundreds of people saw that article today and thought to themselves, "This guy doesn't like Obam and I don't like Obama. And I don't like Socialist Progressives either. This guy makes a lot of sense."

But his letter doesn't make sense. And it is going to be read by this news outlets' entire audience, so I just wanted to clear up what this debate is actually about. Mr. Porter would have you believe its about Obama vs. Trump, but its not.

It’s about you being able to do what you want on the internet without some middleman trying to indirectly funnel you away from the things that you want to do. Right now the internet is an open space where we can all do whatever we want without corporate or government interference. That's what Net Neutrality is.

It should stay that way.

Jacob Morley

Rensselaer Falls