Welcome to the Land of Tomorrow!

There’s nothing I love more than a good Astro-Turf campaign, and US telecommunications providers have been dishing it up in spades.

At “Internet of the Future“, you can view a homespun-looking flash animation describing how internet providers want to open up “new lanes of traffic” for special applications (video-on-demand, for example) over the fibre networks of the future, and how Net Neutrality would effectively shut down the Internet.

At “Don’t Regulate the Internet“, you will find a video describing how the US Congress wants to fundamentally change the Internet by regulating it to death, allowing multi-billion dollar corporations to pay nothing for the Internet while consumers are lumped with the bill. “Who would you want to have running the Internet?”, it asks. “Government or Network Administrators”. Cue animation of a huge pile of legislation collapsing on an overworked sysadmin.

Finally, at “Handsoff.org“, you will find a “community blog” and all sorts of cynical screeds quoting irrelevant statistics about broadband penetration and comparisons to countries whose legislative environment is irrelevant to the bills at hand.

The facts are as follows:
– These sites have been created and funded by the telecommunications industry. The doors were first blown off this sedan by The Daily Kos, and The Register then did a steaming dump on the front seat.
– Net Neutrality is not about changing the Internet. It’s about preserving the status-quo in a commercial environment in which the telecommunications industry would love to charge more to people who can afford it, without passing the savings on to consumers. The fact is, cable companies HATE to see people streaming whatever video they like over their nice fat broadband pipes, and they want to tax anyone who profits from that.

Network technology has given consumers choice. Telecommunications companies want to take that choice away, just as broadband penetration is really hitting its stride. In much the same way as the RIAA and MPAA try to get P2P outlawed, the telcos want to preserve the “old ways” from which they profited so heavily. Sorry guys – you’re a utility now.