On Net Neutrality

Published on September 17, 2014 (↻ June 8, 2021), filed under (RSS feed for all categories).

I didn’t build a strong case here (I’m not at all happy looking back at it years later), but I remain a strong proponent of net neutrality.

We need net neutrality, and we need to insist on net neutrality. Everywhere, not just in the United States.

Throttling internet access, or charging select content providers extra, much appears like a brazen combination of profiteering, extortion, and, effectively, censorship.

As consumers we’ve already paid for access. For full unfettered access. Charging content providers for speedy delivery is almost like running a supermarket and blackmailing suppliers to pay a premium for their own goods to be handed over—right after billing the customers.

That there even is a debate about net neutrality, then, is embarrassing bordering on scandalous, for violating net neutrality much resembles a criminal act. (Carriers, though, run enormously successful lobbyism and propaganda efforts.) Courts and parliaments should clamp down on carriers to reprimand and, if necessary, fine them. They should furthermore look closely at carriers for competitiveness, for there are indications that carriers cooperate, in indeed anti-competitive fashion.

We need net neutrality. Nothing else is acceptable.

A word on a specific provider, Comcast. In my time in the United States I was happy with Comcast once I used them through Google, i.e. Comcast’s business program (they were, for reasons unknown to me, often unusably slow before). Later, however, Comcast has on multiple occasions evaded my questions around net neutrality. At the moment, Comcast customers appear to lose on all fronts: At first they get charged, then their access throttled for then content providers to be charged. Until this improves and until Comcast shows a public, tangible commitment to transparency and an open Internet I will not use Comcast again, and I recommend others, you, to also reconsider.

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About Me

Jens Oliver Meiert, on September 30, 2021.

I’m Jens (long: Jens Oliver Meiert), and I’m a frontend engineering leader and tech author/publisher. I’ve worked as a technical lead for companies like Google and as an engineering manager for companies like Miro, I’m close to W3C and WHATWG, and I write and review books for O’Reilly and Frontend Dogma.

I love trying things, not only in web development (and engineering management), but also in other areas like philosophy. Here on meiert.com I share some of my views and experiences.

If you want to do me a favor, interpret charitably (I speak three languages, and they can collide), yet be critical and give feedback for me to learn and improve. Thank you!