I just read the first really decent explanation of Net Neutrality
But even this article, well-written as it is, doesn’t really express how dire the situation is. I think part of the problem is the term itself: “net neutrality” sounds about as exciting as, I don’t know, accounting, or health savings accounts.
I’m sitting here trying to think of ways to make it sound more compelling, and I’m having a difficult time. “Net freedom,” maybe, or “net highway robbery,” but both concepts lead to inadequate metaphors for how the internet actually works.
Perhaps the real problem is that people don’t understand how the internet works. They type “google.com” and Google comes up. But what if one day Google didn’t come up, and it wasn’t because Google wasn’t in business, it was because Microsoft had formed an “alliance” with AT&T that gave MSN privileged access to the internet? In the best case scenario, MSN might just load faster than Google, but it’s possible that eventually Google could be completely shut out.
Maybe Google would have the werewithal to sign their own alliance with Sprint or MCI, and maybe things would be fine for them. But what about someone like Ampersand at Alas, A Blog? He can barely afford to keep his blog running as it is. If AT&T decided they didn’t like his message, they could shut him out, and we’d hear barely a whimper.
These are all hypotheticals, of course, but all possible — and much, much worse — if we lose net neutrality. I just wish there was a better way to explain all that to the voting public without putting them to sleep.