Net Neutrality Is All Over The News Again – But Is It Good Or Bad?

Net Neutrality comes down to two basic sides.  One side believes governments need to get involved to regulate and prevent artificial controls believed to be put on the Internet by telecoms either by limiting access through their pipelines or by blocking content.  The other side believes that government interference aka regulations will damage Internet access and that greater competition will solve concerns about blocked content or pipeline throttling.  There is also the argument that some kinds of “data discrimination” to guarantee quality of service is not problematic.

Let’s take our own community as an example.  The City of Reno is currently in a 15 year exclusive agreement with Charter Communications.  How many people would say that this has been beneficial for our area?  Let’s check out local online ratings and see how people feel about Charter.

Charter Reviews on Consumer Affairs

Charter Reviews on Consumer Affairs

Charter Reviews on Google

Charter Reviews on Google

Charter Reviews on South Reno Yelp

Charter Reviews on South Reno Yelp

It doesn’t appear that the public feels that the City of Reno did them any favors, by squashing competition and limiting their choices in Internet service providers.  We receive countless calls every week for people looking for alternatives to Charter & AT&T in Reno and Cox & CenturyLink in Las Vegas.  Sure you’re never going to make everyone happy, but greater choice is always a better step than trying to regulate an industry’s performance.

It also must be said that the entire discussion of telecoms and Net Neutrality completely ignores content provided or blocked by search engines.  Google, Bing, Yahoo etc regularly blacklist websites so that you won’t be able to find them using their search engines – isn’t that against Net Neutrality?  Obviously yes, sure the search engines have guidelines and reasons why a site gets blacklisted, but it doesn’t change the fact that they are blocking content.

Reasons why a website could get blacklisted include:

  • Your site is using black hat tricks to improve ranking
  • Your site has unnatural links, including paid links
  • The search engine received legal notice that your site is violating a copywrite
  • Hidden keywords or phrases in background color
  • Your site is spoofing another site
  • Your site links to known spammy or malicious pages
  • Your site is infected
  • Illegal content on your site

All perfectly good reasons to have your content blocked.  This is a process already setup and handled well by the search engines; if someone doesn’t like the way a search engine blocks certain sites they have opportunities to use a different search engine or go direct to that site.  Why would anyone want legislation getting into the mix and making this process worse and more costly.

The Net Neutrality discussion also ignores the fact that the Internet is world wide…you know World Wide Web… and America is not the world police.  What is stored on servers in other countries can’t be policed by America.  Ask China, who works very hard to keep their Internet closed, how policing the Internet is going.  This also ignores laws that differ from state to state, as most people realize some things that are legal in Nevada aren’t really legal most other places.  Or consider California’s bizarre law from 2013 attempting to regulate the Internet, how did that work out for them?

Net Neutrality is great in theory, sort of like everyone getting a trophy for participating, but in practicality neither of those prove beneficial.  What we really need is an open market with greater competition among service providers and yes we really do need a certain amount of content blocking as handled by search engines.




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