To Anybody Against Net Neutrality: Are You Out of Your Damn Mind?

10799415_10152793512837489_358738663_nHow has this become a political issue? Is this how divided we’ve become? Even when it comes to access to the internet, apparently we have to make it into a left vs. right argument. Oh, I know why – because President Obama dared to say that net neutrality is important and jackasses like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) feel the need to oppose anything and everything the president says. Not only that, but Republicans are shills for big business and these giant cable conglomerates really want to kill net neutrality.

Net neutrality should be one of the few things where there’s absolutely no debate among American consumers and politicians.

Let me break it down as simply as I can:

  • Are you someone who uses the internet for work and/or pleasure? Then you should support true net neutrality.
  • Are you a giant corporation that wants to further gouge the American consumer? Then you should oppose net neutrality.

Yes, it’s really that simple.

What net neutrality does is it ensures that the internet speed for which you’re paying Verizon, Comcast, Time Warner or whatever other internet provider you might have is the speed you’re getting when you’re using the internet. Meaning, if you’re paying Comcast to get 30 mbps download speeds, every website you visit will be delivered at the same speed. Whether you’re visiting or, both sites will be available to you at the same speed.

Now, if that ends, then these internet providers can start throttling (slowing down) speed access to websites that aren’t paying them for premium access. Which means that if you’re paying for 30 mbps download speeds every month, you’ll only be given that speed for those websites that are willing or able to pay those premiums to your internet provider.

So let me paint a quick picture using Netflix as an example. Consumers who want Netflix pay Netflix $8.99 per month for their streaming service. Then let’s say the average consumer is paying $50 to their internet provider for 30 mbps download speeds.

Except – when they were using Netflix. Their internet provider will purposely slow down access to that content until Netflix pays more money so that the consumer can actually have usable access to the product and internet speed for which they are already paying. 

If that sounds ridiculous, it should. But the terrifying part is – it already happened

Then what happens one day when Netflix decides that they’re not going to absorb this cost, instead passing it on to the consumers? When that happens (and it will), at that moment, every consumer will then be charged more for Netflix so that they can have access to a product at the internet speeds for which they are already paying. In other words, they’re not just paying for their download speeds from their internet providers, but the right to have usable access to content on the internet.

And that’s just one example. This could potentially happen to every single website on the internet.

Small businesses owners who rely heavily on internet traffic being forced to pay fees they might not be able to afford just so that their customers can have access to their website at a usable download rate.

Killing net neutrality threatens small businesses, innovation, startup tech companies and even the news and information Americans have access to.

Now anyone who follows my writing knows I’m by no means an alarmist. But I say without hesitation that the end of true net neutrality terrifies me. To think that one day not only will access to the internet be controlled by these huge corporations like Comcast, but then the ability for Americans to gain access to the content on the internet will only be provided to those corporations willing to shell out huge sums of money to those internet providers.

And many Americans (like myself) don’t have a choice when it comes to which company they get their internet from. I either get Charter Communications (which is terrible) or I go without the internet. And that’s the same story for tens of millions of Americans all across this country.

I literally have zero patience for anyone who tells me that ending net neutrality isn’t a big deal. It’s a very big deal. You know when the internet goes crazy because someone who a lot of people know said something non-contextually offensive and you hear about it endlessly for weeks?

Well, that’s how people should be acting about ending net neutrality – x 1,000,000.

So, when someone says to me that they support companies like Comcast, Time Warner and Verizon in ending net neutrality, the only thing I have to say to them is: Are you out of your damn mind? 

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


Facebook comments

  • regressive teaparty trash

    sounds delightfully regressive republican to me—————– PAY MORE! PAY BIGGER COMPANIES! screw the “little” man in America,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, funny how TED CRUZ already is against net neutrality,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,HMMMMMMMM—

  • John

    People like Senator Ted Cruz are pretty much the reason I don’t vote Republican. I used to consider myself a conservative, I honestly *want* to consider myself a conservative. But the fact that idiots such as him have a larger audience than the drunks at a local bar concerns me.

    If conservatives as a whole truly were intelligent, people such as Senator Cruz wouldn’t even have gotten 1% of the vote to become a member of Congress.

    • Gary Menten

      The de facto meaning of the term “conservatism” has changed enormously over the last 35 years. Where once it was respectable, today, calling yourself a conservative is tantamount to calling yourself a raving cuckoo.

      • Self-Abusin’ Pete

        Yeah, right. 35 years ago, Ronald Reagan was running for president and the left called him nuts. The idea that there was some golden age when the left respected the right and didn’t call Republicans the same nasty names they call him today is hilariously stupid.

        Mark my words: tomorrow’s left will be comparing George W. Bush favorably to whomever the Republicans run in 2036.

      • FuzzyBunnyFeet

        I voted in the Regan/Carter/Anderson election. I don’t remember any liberal leaders calling Ronald Reagan “nuts”. They called his ideas dangerous and radical, but that is not the same as calling the person “nuts”.

      • Self-Abusin’ Pete

        Gary’s point up there was that 35 years ago, conservatism was “respectable.” If, as you recall, people were calling Reagan’s ideas “dangerous and radical,” then no, conservatism wasn’t being treated as something that was “respectable.”

      • FuzzyBunnyFeet

        They were calling his IDEAS dangerous and radical. There should be a distinction between the ideas and the man.

      • Self-Abusin’ Pete

        I don’t know if there’s a functional difference between saying “Bush/Obama is dangerous and radical” and “what Bush/Obama wants to do is dangerous and radical,” but let’s assume there is.

        Gary’s point was that conservatism was “respectable” 35 years ago. If you were calling those conservative ideas “dangerous and radical” 35 years ago, then no, those ideas were not “respectable.”

      • Stephen Barlow

        There WAS. CARTER NEVER depreciated him. And I really don’t remember it get personal like it is with a BLACK President. No RED ever questioned Gore’s citizenship, his faith, his credentials, his loyalty.

        But ALL of that was manufactured into issues. And the only difference between the two men is that Gore was WHITE!

      • Stephen Barlow

        When they STOPPED acting respectable, we began DIS respectingthem to the LEVEL of their disrespectability.

        the nadir was Closingthe Government when a simple vote on a bill that would be business as usual could have STOPPED it. Boehner should be in prison or home with an ankle bracelet awaiting trial for TREASON.

      • Stephen Barlow

        Have you had a CAT scan lately? People never feel brain tumors. I understand dementia is painless too. Better check that out.

      • Gilvo

        Pete, I’ll have to go with the majority of the replies here and say that your observation is false. I was only in high school then, and a young Republican, but I don’t remember people treating a campaigning Reagan as radical. Mostly people had doubts and suspicions because he’d been an actor before a governor, and people across the land wondered how he’d gotten to be governor in the first place coming from such a profession, but so many were still fuming over the Panama Canal, and Reagan such a damn good speaker over Carter, he slid into easy victory. I’ll contend here that today’s Reagan idolatry is not so much respect for the man, but a warm hearkening to a golden age of the Republican party that Reagan’s image has been attached. Those Republicans are not these however, and so I don’t believe that your premonition of 2036 is accurate at all.

  • bongzilla

    Ted Cruz is a GOPBOT. There’s a squadron in every state these days, from Scott Walker to Rick Scott to Sam Brownback. They funnel money, lots of it, upward. That is their only programming other than slight of hand tricks to win reelection or different office.

  • FuzzyBunnyFeet

    For those, like me, who don’t have a WSJ login here is a related article on ARS Technica:
    arstechnica. com/information-technology/2014/04/after-netflix-pays-comcast-speeds-improve-65/
    And another from CNN:
    money. cnn. com/2014/04/14/technology/netflix-comcast/

  • Eg Kbbs

    So if the Internet companies can charge for a fast lane, doesn’t this mean that they are de facto moving others onto a slow lane ?

    If a company can buy a fast lane connection, how long till given political parties or ideologies will be able to buy a fast lane for their candidates (especially as money is free speech, unlimited campaign contributions, and the other insanity of Citizens United) ?

    And if a political side can buy a fast lane connection and move their opponent to a slower connection, isn’t that starting to sound like the net censorship in China ?

    • Stephen Barlow

      Exactly. Pete wants a “Peoples Republic of America!”

  • Self-Abusin’ Pete

    I’m undecided on the Net Neutrality issue – that depends largely on what it looks like in its final form – but if you cannot conceive of an argument against Net Neutrality other than “you’re nuts,” then you haven’t thought about your own position carefully.

    The argument for Net Neutrality results in the creation of a free lunch: blazing-fast Netflix for everyone, at no additional cost. When you find yourself conjuring a free lunch into place, it’s time to reexamine your assumptions and reasoning.

    Imagine that everyone on your block is a Comcast customer, using the internet for a range of activities: email, Facebook, cat videos, “adult” stuff, Netflix. Then your state legalizes marijuana and half of your block starts spending hours every evening getting baked and watching Futurama on Netflix.

    The geeks over at Comcast look at their server load and notice how much bandwidth is being used. “Our current network can’t support this demand. We’re going to need more servers, and we’re going to have to lay more cable,” one geek says. “But where are we going to get the money for that?”

    Another geek pipes up. “Well, theoretically we could charge Netflix more to use our network, and that way the cost would be passed on to the people who are sucking up most of the bandwidth, but we’re not allowed to do that. Net Neutrality.”

    “Alright then,” the first geek responds, “we’ll just raise everyone’s rates to cover these costs. Or we’ll start selling tiered data plans and let the people who use Netflix pay for the privilege.”

    So there’s your problem: someone has to pay for the burden inflicted on the Comcast network by Netflix. That someone is going to be the consumer. Whether it’s paid through higher Netflix subscription fees or a larger Comcast bill, you will pay in the end. All that Net Neutrality does is determines the conduit for payment, not the ultimate payer. The debate isn’t about the Little Guy versus Comcast. It’s about content providers who want their content delivered to you without paying for the privilege versus Comcast. I don’t see why the government should be stepping in to take Netflix’s side.

    • azzy23

      Except there is no bandwidth drag, and if there were, it’s fairly cheap to install more ports between routers and backbones.

      But factually, there is no bandwidth issue. This is merely a way to make MORE money off an already profitable business model.

      The way it actually works, last-mile providers like Comcast are only providing the connection from your house to the internet. You pay them $50 for that connection, and that’s it. They’re responsible for servicing that last mile. What they’re trying to do now is charge various businesses and content providers protection money; Nice streaming media service you got there, Netflix… be a shame if something happened to it.

      So where is Comcast going to throttle the speed or create that fast lane..? IN THE LAST MILE CONNECTION. Which we, the consumer, have already paid for. If anyone should choose to throttle Netflix’s speed for profit it should be Netflix itself, then the free market can decide whether or not they’re willing to pay for that business model.

      When the last mile provider does this, this is the opposite of a free market model.

      If this happens, I suggest we pool a crap ton of money and start our own last-mile provider that does NO throttling. A truly net-neutral last mile provider. Then we can encourage content providers like Netflix to throttle their output to Comcast and similar, and give our network full speed, and start stripping off customers.

      Until someone passes a bill banning net-neutral providers. 😉 Which will happen. Those free market principles tend to disappear when big business starts waving money around. Ask Southwest Airlines how free the free market really is. 😉

      • Self-Abusin’ Pete

        On one hand, you argue that Comcast et al. don’t do anything that requires any expense. On the other hand, you say that we should “pool a crap ton of money” and start our own ISP. So it’s not nothing. There are actual costs involved with getting the internet to your home.

        But if you’re going to contend that last-mile bandwidth is limitless and it doesn’t cost ISPs anything to increase it, we’re not going to have a productive discussion.

        Like I said, I’m undecided on the ultimate issue. There are some good arguments out there. But of the arguments for Net Neutrality, “I already paid for internet access” is a lousy one. Read the terms of the agreement with your ISP. If you’re paying for unlimited access without preference to any content and Comcast isn’t giving that to you, you have a strong case. But if your contract says “we can limit your access to certain data types,” then no, you haven’t already paid for open access. You’ve paid for limited access.

        I am concerned about how monopolists act in the market. I’m also concerned that companies like Comcast are vertically integrated, controlling both content and delivery. But to the extent that these are problems, I’d like to see them addressed by the normal channels: the Federal Trade Commission and the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice, not through the FCC backdoor.

      • Stephen Barlow

        “On one hand, you argue that Comcast et al. don’t do anything that requires any expense.”

        NO!!!! That’s NOT the argument!!! THIS IS WHERE YOU ARE DEAD WRoNG!

        “The way it actually works, last-mile providers like Comcast are only providing the connection from your house to the internet. You pay them $50 for that connection, and that’s it. They’re responsible for servicing that last mile.”

        If it costs them more than $50, they raise their prices, not short the customer on a contracted service!! Shorting a contract is FRAUD! it’s That Simple!

      • Di Kelley

        Uh, that’s what Obama is trying to do. Have the FCC *deal* with the issue by reclassifying ISPs as utilities. That makes it easier for them to put stricter regulation on the businesses to keep them from hiking our rates, forcing other companies to pay premiums for the *same speeds* so those premiums are passed on to their customers, and from forming monopolies. Breaking up Ma Bell worked! It lowered phone service prices, and allowed other non Bell affiliated phone companies to service us which fostered competition. That needs to happen in the ISP industry as well.

      • Stephen Barlow

        Damn straight! That’s exactly it. Protection, MOB style!

        Exactly, The LAST MILE IS PAID FOR so BREACHING the contract for service connection is FRAUD!

        Get NETFLIX to choke ONLY Comcast customers…. then rake then in!!

        Airlines should be merged and Nationalized. It would be the ONLY way to keep them from serial bankruptcy. The taxpayer has ALREADY invested TRILLIONS in the Airlines infrastructure. We should get the benefit of that investment in lower prices for American in America. AT COST + maintenance/upkeep/improvement.

        No golden parachutes,stock options for the select few, advertising or the kind of useless waste the DOD is made of.

    • FuzzyBunnyFeet

      Net Neutrality does not result, “in the creation of a free lunch”. Net Neutrality is about ISPs not being able to choose winners and loser in the customer access market. If a customer has 2 GB download speed, then the ISP should not be able to throttle the upload speed of a content provider simply because that provider has not paid a premium to the ISP to ensure uninhibited access to their customers.

      I really don’t understand why people can’t see that content providers should not have to pay premiums to each ISP (Comcast, Verizon, Time/Warner, etc.) just to have their content delivered at the speed that the ISPs customers have already paid for.

      • Self-Abusin’ Pete

        That’s not really your argument, though. That’s an argument that sounds good but which conceals your actual argument.

        If your agreement with your ISP says that you can access any content on the internet without any restrictions, then I agree with you completely: they can’t force content providers to pay extra to get on their network. You paid for the whole internet as fast as you can get it, so that’s what you deserve to get. If you’re not getting that, your ISP has breached your agreement.

        But if you agree to pay your ISP $75 for December’s internet access, and your agreement says that they can limit your speeds for certain content, then no, you haven’t already paid for unlimited content.

        What you want to do is make the latter situation illegal. You don’t want ISPs and consumers to be able to agree that the ISP will supply less than the whole internet at maximum speed.

      • FuzzyBunnyFeet

        I as a consumer have a negotiating position only to the extent that there is competition in the ISP space. To the extent that ISPs have a monopoly (AT&T does where I”m located and many companies do in other regions of the country) they should be treated like common carriers just like the early telephone companies were.

      • Stephen Barlow

        They all do everywhere. If I want cable, i can ONLY get X brand HERE. Satellite is different. So is wireless.

      • FuzzyBunnyFeet

        That may be true. I haven’t done the research to say definitively that there is no high speed internet competition anywhere in the US.

      • Stephen Barlow

        What I meant was cable companies have territorial monopolies. But the Communities DO NOT choose them. FCC does. The Phone companies work the same way and HERE, as a DISH customer for TV, I MUST have a land line for ther internet service.

        BTW. The actual cost of internet service is about $17 a month. The rest is profit and advertising.

      • Stephen Barlow

        That’s a BAD contract and since it is unilateral, it;s VOID on it’s face. That’s like asking a Priest to marry you and your girl. And the Priest says Ok, but I get to screw her to. “After all, I married both of you.” Which also means he gets to use YOU TOO!
        And not only THAT, the Priest gets to to do any kinky thing he wants with her, even share her other priests. BEcause he “married” the two of you. YOU are saying that the Priestt can even share the groom.

        The Priest is cheating the groom EXACTLY the way YOU want EVERY citizen to be cheated by providers.


        The REAL DEAL is that Comcast charges $50 a month and it provides a service. End of story.

        What YOU are advocating is that a manufacturer sells 24 oz jars of spaghetti sauce for $2. Then YOU think it’s ok to keep that 24oz label on it but only put 15oz in it and say they are being honest. YOU are saying “Hey, you bought a 24 oz JAR, with a 24 oz LABEL on it. We never said there was 24 oz of sauce in it!!”

        You are dead Duck.

      • splicernyc

        Then I’ll just use the free market to go to the ISP that doesn’t throttle me…oh…they all do it. Free market working wonderfully, as always.

      • Stephen Barlow


      • Steve Brown

        yes…they should

    • Stephen Barlow

      Comcast just raises it’s prices and losses some customers to Dish.

      It;s calle the FREE MARKET, not the ONE WAY STREET.

      I get you reasoning, but you are selling ice to eskimos with this one pal.

      BAD DEAL forthe people.

      it’s TIME that Corporations paid out of their profits for all their ‘business needs’.

      END all business tax deductions and lower the rate to a FLAT 12.5%

  • Stephen Barlow

    NOBRAKES INTERNET!! let usage alone determine the speed.

  • Steve Brown

    because it IS an ideology issue. some think the govt should control everything. others think the govt is lousy at everything it tries to do and it will create a big mess.

  • Matthew Reece

    http://www DOT christophercantwell DOT com/2014/02/19/dont-fall-for-net-neutrality/

  • eric

    I think that this hurts start up companies who can’t pay the fees to the ISPs to supply their content. Think about the impact this will have on smaller content providers…