Net neutrality

Net neutrality is a policy that requires Internet service providers to treat all traffic equally. ISPs would prefer to be able to make free money by letting giant corporations pay to slow down access to competitors’ websites (or refrain from slowing down access to their own, a form of extortion that has actually happened). They of course claim that net neutrality somehow “stifles innovation,” which people in the tech industry realize is meaningless nonsense. Other countries, where ISPs are regulated more tightly, actually tend to be ahead of the U.S. in terms of both pricing and data speeds.

(Incidentally, this has nothing to do with charging more money for more bandwidth. That’s legitimate, at least provided there’s no misrepresentation.)

Recently HBO’s Last Week Tonight did a segment on net neutrality updating its original one from 2014. In it host John Oliver urged people to comment in favor of net neutrality on the FCC’s public comment page, and since the FCC didn’t make it easy to find the page in question, Oliver and company created a URL that would link directly to it and gave it the memorable name The FCC site attracted lots of comments partly as a result, but anti-neutrality messages flooded in as well, apparently sent automatically in high volume and with fake names attached. If you haven’t expressed yourself yet, click on the link above. Comments were not being taken for a while for procedural reasons, but they should be open to them again now.

Following the original 2014 segment for reference. You don’t need to watch it to understand Oliver’s major points, since he goes into them again in the second video below. If you’re really pressed for time, the third video is the shortest and covers the major points.


Here’s the newer one that aired May 7:


Here’s his update published on line May 14. Those in a hurry can watch just this clip and get the gist:


Finally, if you think John Oliver is too dang liberal and you don’t want to listen to no dang liberals, here’s what The Wall Street Journal, which ain’t no dang liberal, had to say before the FCC’s ruling in favor of Net Neutrality in early 2015:


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