What does this have to do with us? I keep thinking about what happens when one powerful entity exercises monolithic control over the Internet. In China, it's the government. Over on this side of the Pacific, that would translate into the big broadband ISPs. Yes, I'm talking about Net neutrality again.
Given the opportunity, would a big ISP like Comcast or Charter or AT&T exercise Chinese-like control over Net content? Yes, I think they would. Not necessarily from a political agenda; they'd just offer better quality of service for bits with the most dollar signs attached to them -- whether their own content or that of business partners.
Don't believe it? Cringester J.Q. recently shared part of a survey Cox Communications sent him about possible services. Here's one of the questions Cox posed:
In case that screenshot isn't easily legible, it asks Cox users if they'd like to have their Internet speed "automatically doubled when downloading videos, movies, games, and other content located on the Cox website as well as select Cox partner websites."
Sure sounds like Cox is thinking about throttling down the rest of the Net to give its own content a big advantage. They couldn't be alone in that.
Big ISPs need to be able to manage their traffic, that's a given. Bandwidth hogs should not be given a free ride. But we all need to be aware of what damage giving unfettered control to ISPs can do. The last thing we need is for a dozen little Chinas to bloom.
OK, have at it. What do you think about China and net neutrality? Post your thoughts below or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll gather up the best responses and let y'all duke it out in a future post.