Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Net Neutrality And John Oliver

On last Sunday's HBO series Last Week Tonight, host John Oliver, fresh off a successful turn at The Daily Show, took on the cable industry and net neutrality.  It was a very funny description of the monopolistic tendencies of cable distribution and the potential loss of free and equal broadband speed.  Unfortunately, as Oliver points out, the FCC is now chaired by Tom Wheeler, former lobbyist for the cable industry.  A move that clearly stacks the deck for cable operators to control who gets best of class service.  If you have a moment, enjoy the segment from the show:

Now John Oliver's show is shown on HBO, a Time Warner company, along with TBS, TNT, and other networks, on these same cable operators.  So to talk about changing the name from "protecting net neutrality" to "Preventing Cable Company Fuckery",  he is certainly biting the hand that feeds him.  And whether his asking his viewers to visit the FCC website, and raise their voice may soon determine the kind of social power John Oliver can create.

His points are valid.  His insights on the lack of competition resulting in less service is illustrated by the chart he shares that ranks our download speed 31st in the world, below countries like the UK, Israel, and even Estonia.  Yet the cost for speed is higher than most other countries.  The compelling reason for net neutrality is not just that all services are treated equally; rather, that when some are given preferential lanes, the speed for the rest falls further down.

So enjoy the video and if you feel compelled after watching it, let the FCC know.