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Don't Let Them Cripple Innovation

[If you want to continue enjoying cutting edge products brought to you by businesses big and small... Please consider donating to my campaign.]

We are about to see the worst, most incredibly uninformed decision out of Washington on Net Neutrality... This is what happens when we have no one in Congress who understands the underlying technology the economy depends upon.

Some ask what is different now compared to the days before Internet bandwidth was treated as a public utility. The answer is the 'gig economy'.

Businesses now have the ability to farm out certain kinds of work to freelancers. And they are able to do much more sophisticated work because of 'HTML5' and a technology called 'WebSockets'. Businesses are getting more work done for less cost.

This technology was standardized in 2011 and has taken hold with major collaboration vendors like Google, which use it to engineer much more responsive and fully featured apps. Indeed, the concept of 'the cloud' - or to use tech terms - 'infrastructure as a service' and 'software as a service' - depends entirely on HTML5 and WebSockets.

And this technology depends heavily on bandwidth.

What is happening here is telcom companies - formerly 'Big Cable' which by way of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) went on to become 'Big Internet' - are attempting to re-erect barriers to entry for television programming which came down when we switched from analog to digital television in 2009. As a result of the switch we now have multiple 'streaming video' options - allowing many to 'cut the cord' on cable television.

Some ask why government should be involved in regulating the Internet like a utility (e.g. like a power company). There are at least three reasons:

1) Like power distribution, the network which carries Internet traffic relies on public rights of way. Because this business model depends on things owned by the public, the public has certain rights with respect to the public interest.

2) The air waves are also (and have always been) considered public property. Again, when a company uses the airwaves, it must do so within certain parameters to guard the public interest.

3) The modern economy is just as dependent on the transmission of information as it is on the transmission of energy.

Others say ISPs should compete freely to deliver bandwidth. This is to fundamentally misunderstand the Internet. ISPs provide the 'last mile' of connectivity between the customer and what is called the 'backbone'. 'Bandwidth' is provided by the backbone - which is owned by the big telcoms.

If these companies are allowed to throttle bandwidth, they will immediately re-erect the barriers to entry not only for video streaming but for any innovation that is not in the interest of their shareholders.

This is not capitalism; it is corporatism.  This is not 'free enterprise'; it is Big Business lobbying to protect a dated, obsolete business model.

Because the FCC does not understand the underlying technology, nor how the gig economy depends on it, they have succumbed to the propaganda of the telcom companies about innovation. Net Neutrality is exactly what brought us the innovations of HTML5 and WebSockets. Ending it will accomplish the exact opposite of the stated intention. It will stifle innovation and cripple the ability of small business to freely compete on a level playing field.

[If you want to continue enjoying cutting edge products brought to you by businesses big and small... Please consider donating to my campaign.]

John Horst Win the Future Congressional Campaign Committee
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