Digital Minefield

Why The Machines Are Winning

Is Net Neutrality Pie-In-The-Sky?


Since Net Neutrality has been prominent in the news lately, you might be wondering why I haven’t mentioned it, in as much as I am discussing very relevant topics (e.g., filter bubbles).

Simple answer? It’s a political rat’s nest, involving governments of countries, states, counties, and even cities. Phrases like “right of way” and “eminent domain” come to mind. These and other legal terms are not solutions, but sources of potential conflict.

In one sense, Net Neutrality is an ideal, and as such could not possibly be legislated. That is, all of its necessary mechanisms are beyond legal resolution. However, limited legislation could assist in allowing other entities to implement what’s needed.

Specifically, laws permitting governmentally subsidized nonprofit ISPs to provide unrestricted access to all Internet data at reasonable prices. It is unconscionable for service providers to charge significantly more than most other industrialized nations.

Yet, they will claim it’s their right in a free market (whose competition is supposed to drive down prices!). They’d even ask, if governmentally subsidized ISPs charged less, then what would keep them from dominating the ISP market?

Simple. Limit the number of hours at the lower rate. If the avowed purpose is the unrestricted access to all Internet data at reasonable prices necessary for valid research, why would every user require unlimited hours of access? There are more factors.

I have seen no Net Neutrality discussion make the point that a truly neutral search would be significantly faster. The very fact of Net Neutrality would reduce total time of access. And more.

Institutions dependent upon research would not limit their researchers to the restrictions of their individual accounts; they would share the institution’s research account(s). That’s not all.

The current method used by Internet search engines, as I’ve said many times in this blog, sucks. A number of times in this blog I’ve described an alternative method I call Iterative Search (look it up here). It’s better because it’s easier and quicker to an answer.

Some may see this suggestion as government helping nonprofits take business away from for-profit companies. I say it’s the only practical way to get an affordable, unfiltered Internet. Since for-profits seem to have no interest in providing that, why not?

Besides, the for-profits can get into this game anytime they want. They can even charge less than nonprofits. As long as they provide the same unfiltered, full Internet access, why not?

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