Laying More Astroturf In the Net Neutrality Debate
from the carpet-the-world dept
Another astroturfing group has popped up in the net neutrality debate, backed by an amalgamation of telcos, political groups and network equipment vendors, and looking to frame the issue as one of unwanted government interference in the internet. Nothing notable there, but the animated movie the group has made is a real piece of work. The movie's hand-drawn look hides the fact that this production is paid for by a number of huge, interested parties in the telecom industry, and it goes on to make some fairly dishonest claims. First is the contention that consumers now have "more choice" when it comes to high-speed internet access, implying that there's healthy competition in the marketplace when all that really exists is a healthy duopoly. The group then hauls out the tired idea that content companies are looking for a free ride, saying that they don't want to pay "anything", and leave consumers to pay the whole bill -- a ridiculous contention. The movie implies that some part of the connection between content providers and consumers isn't being paid for, a common -- and absolutely untrue -- piece of telco propaganda. Also, if consumers are left to pay "the whole bill", as the movie says, should carriers' plans to extort content providers be unsuccessful, can consumers expect to see their bills drop if they do start extorting them? We didn't think so. The group also engages in some crafty semantics, saying that the only examples neutrality supporters can point to of ISPs blocking "web sites" are from Canada, which conveniently omits the multiple examples of American ISPs blocking VoIP, streaming media and other services, as well as ignores comments from ISPs who think they should be able to block any competing services they wish on their networks. The biggest problem, though, is in the conclusion of the movie, which says the issue of net neutrality comes down to who will control the internet -- the people, or the government. This is pretty laughable, since should telcos and carriers be allowed to discriminate against content providers that won't pay protection money, they'll be the ones controlling the internet -- certainly not "the people".