Why you should refuses Premiums

What is the net neutrality?

If you’re not comfortable about the Net Neutrality, it is the defining concept of the internet. Simply put, it can be summed by this sentence:

Each packet is created equal in right and duty.

This is it. A packet is an atomic part of a communication between computers, it is a fragment of the data exchanged between you and the rest of the world. It’s like a word in a sentence.

This axiom grants the fact that all the packets will be managed independently of their content, sender and receiver, and then it removes the possibility of censorship.

However, this is not what’s important now. What is important is that ISP wants to sold you net neutrality. What they call premium. And you should opposes the idea.

What is a premium?

The premium the ISP wants to sold you is the fact that not everybody can access the internet the same way. They want to create a first class internet, which you will pay for.

The premium will gives you unlimited access at high speed to whatever you want. Music, pictures, videos, search engines. You name it. Sounds cool? Well, yeah, it sounds cool.

But it just a sound,a bit like the beautiful songs of the siren that lures sailors in the darkness of the seas. And you should not listen to them.

And here is why.

Internet is made by and for users

The internet (not only the web, but the whole interconnection of network) is made of what people put on it. From the time I started using it, back to the 56kbps connexion, to the modern age of social networks, most of the things available on the internet has been created by users of the internet.

Internet is a read/write media, not like the press or the TV. If it is so awesome, it’s only because everyone who can access the internet can also write on the internet. Even facebook, google and twitter have understand that, it is the User Generated Content.

The ISP, and most of the companies on the internet, aren’t building content. They are sometimes building tools (search engines, micro bloging platform, social network management tools, etc.) that are amazing, but they are not creating content.

http://youtube.com is not producing videos. They collect them, gives you tool to browse them and gives you tool to upload them.

So, you find internet so useful because everyone can write on it. Keep this in mind, because this is important.

Internet is a connexion of network

Another thing is that internet is only an interconnection of networks. Military and university ones at first, and now governmental or company owned network. Google and Facebook are two different networks (and they do a lot of effort to keep each other out of their network). Apple is building is own and, yes, ISP have their own network.

So, if you give ISP the possibility to prioritize traffic and content, the ISP will give a higher priority to the contents that will grants them more money (hey, they are mostly companies after all). And it means that you will access advertisements before anything else. You won’t access the content you were looking for, but the content they want you to access.

What does it mean? It mean that if, for instance, Orange earn no money from Facebook, they will build their own social network and will hinder your access to Facebook. If you have only 1kbps of bandwidth for Facebook.com, you will need several minutes to just load the home page or any pictures. And I’m not speaking about uplodaing pictures. Facebook will basically becomes unusable. But do not worry, after all Orange will build you a social network that will be usable for you.

And yes, they’re already doing it. Orange has interest in dailymotion.com, a direct concurrent to youtube.com. And Orange is an ISP (and even a Content Delivery Netowrk), so they can hinder youtube.com to favor dailymotion. See this link (in FR) for more details.

So, granting the network operator to do whatever they want will destroy the interconnection of the network (hence, the internet).

I want to be special

And then, enter the premium. You are special, operators wants you to be special. They will sell you a full access to the internet. You will be able to be over the top and access everything you want.

Except there is a problem. Not everyone will be able to do so, because only special people are premium. So, only special people will have a decent connexion to all the internet and to the tools that grants people the possibility to create.

So, all this content, all those cats videos, all the pictures of your friends, all those things that are the reasons you like the internet will disappear. You will have access to everything, but all the other people won’t. The not special enough people, the one that were, in fact, producing the petabytes of content you were accessing will be enclosed in a world of advertisement and partitioned network without the possibility of going on another network.

They will be stuck in a world where google can take dozens of seconds to load, and I’m not speaking about making a search, where the search engine powered by the ISP will starting by a page or two of results for which companies have paid a premium, not the results that could be interesting.

So, only special people will be granted with the full possibility of the internet. Only a few fraction of the users and creators will be granted the possibility to fill the internet with content.

The premium will be a special pass to the emptiness of the dead internet. You will pay more for less. This is what a premium is.

The non-premium people will have access to an enclosed, ad-powered internet without the real possibility of creating content (because the ISP will have no interest for it), while the special ones will access to the content that nobody can now upload.

A facebook without people, a youtube without cats, an internet without content.

Everybody should be special

So, the next arguments ISP will use is that everyone should take the premium. But if everyone pays for it, it’s not a premium anymore, it’ a raise of prices. And since everyone will have access to the full internet, the technical problems they claims to be the source of their need for premium will still be there. Except you’ll then pay a bonus of 10€ per month.

And they won’t work on building a bigger network, they will just continue what they’re doing until now: earning more money and doing less. And lying to you.

Those are the reason why you should refuses the premium and endorse the net neutrality. Not because it’s better for the humanity, or because respecting the net neutrality assures equals means of communication for anyone. No, you should stand