Friday, April 9, 2010

Net Neutrality is Good for Business and People

I guess the judge held to a strict reading of the law in this case, Net neutrality faces serious setbacks - Yahoo! News: "Net neutrality faces serious setbacks," i.e., that the FCC did not have the authority to force net neutrality on Internet Service Providers (ISPs). If he didn't follow the law, then he's as blind as a bat to the huge benefit of net neutrality and he's probably in Comcast's, lobbyist or Republican's pocket. I hope Congress gives the FCC the authority to do that, in clear, uncertain terms, but I doubt that it will since it will probably require 60 votes in the Senate and the "No" party will vote against it, probably because Sarah Palin will be against it. I'm sure that her idea of the Internet goes no farther than twitter and Facebook. She has no idea of the billions of dollars of business done over the internet that, due to the court ruling, is throttled by Comcast, AT&T and other ISPs. She would also have no idea on how beneficial the Internet is to keeping people informed, but if they were informed they wouldn't be following her.

Personally, my hope is for new technology and Google. For example, CISCO and Juniper are testing 100 gigabyte per second (roughly 100 billion bits) routers, the next generation routers. CISCO says its router can handle 322 terabytes (you can download the entire Library of Congress in a few seconds), if, of course, you're connected to other equipment that can produce that speed. These routers solve the traffic jam on the Internet; all wires meet at the router, sort of like 32 or 64 high speed highways meeting at the same intersection. Comcast and AT&T have stacks of slow routers in their data centers. When they use next generation routers, all of their excuses for limiting Internet use are moot. Of course they will make you and me, the customer, pay a heavy price for that.

That's where Google comes in. Google thinks that the Internet should be free, a really novel and counterintuitive idea. It has two projects that they hope makes this happen. The first is its "Open Source" project that Google keeps software programmers updated on in its own (don't click unless you're a geek) blog. It's all pretty technical, but the gist is that for any software and/or equipment (Google phone) that Google gives away or sells, any programmer in the world can contribute to it. I could, for example, write a program or a section of a program, give it to Google and Google could then upload it on its phones and everyone could run it; free of charge. Google gets some of the best programmers in the world to contribute because programmers are geeks and they can't let an improvement pass them by - that's why Google programs are among the highest quality programs available. I believe that each contributing programmer gets a share of the profit generated by the program.

The second project is Google's free Internet access project. Google is testing this concept in several communities around the country. For example its free service to Mountain View, CA, is one such test. Google believes that, if the Internet is free to everyone, business increases, advertising increases, more people buy and use services that result in increased commerce for everyone. So far, it's proving to be true.

By the way, you can use a good office suite open source program, OpenOffice, instead of Microsoft Office, right now - and it's free. Sun Microsystems started this project and Oracle owns it now. It doesn't have all of those "security" issues that Microsoft Office has. The only thing I've found that it doesn't do is suggest grammatical corrections like Microsoft Office does. But, I was never sure Microsoft was correct anyway. I'll probably stick to what I learned from Mildred Armstrong - well, maybe not, but it's not her fault.


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