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The Battle For Your Hosting Account

Jan 31, 2008
There is a quite battle being waged everyday all over the world. It is being fought house to house and street to street. It is a battle of incredibly high stakes and most people have no clue it exists including some of those who are called on to fight it.

The battle being fought isn't over land or oil or drugs. It's being fought over data traffic moving over the internet. I know your thinking that's a bit melodramatic but it is a fact. There is currently a legislative effort being pushed through to strip away fundamentally rights we as citizens of the internet have grown accustomed to.

Like no other place on earth, every person's data flow over the internet is created equal. No one user gets higher ranking than any other. No hosting company delegates which customer's data moves through the backbone of the information superhighway first or last. This is the truest form of equality the human race has ever seen. Which means someone isn't squeezing every last cent out of the system. And for the largest service providers, both ISP and hosting, that can't be allowed.

The battle being waged over this fundamentally right goes by the name 'Net Neutrality'. And like most battles fought in government it's been started by lobbying groups for a specific industry. In this case service providers want to be able to offer tiered service. If you the end user wants to have a blazing fast connection you're going to have to pay twice. You're going to have to pay your monthly broadband fees and then a second fee for high priority transmissions. Online retailers are going to be in for a world of hurt as well which is going to jack up the prices of every product bought or sold online.

A company like amazon.com which serves millions of page views everyday is going to be forced into paying for higher priority transmission service as well. One of the long standing rules of the internet is if you don't give the user content within five seconds they are going to hit the back button and try someone else. Where the bigger problem comes into play isn't the gargantuan online retailers but the small mom and pop boutiques doing business online. The big guys will be able to cut a check to their hosting providers to ensure whatever competitive advantage they can. For smaller businesses with generally higher prices due to lower volume sales anything that cuts into an already slim profit margin will be catastrophic to their financial well being.

And let's not over look the fact that once you give these companies a legal way to discriminate against users and bleed businesses for higher performance they are never going to stop. There will always be a higher tier just waiting for the customer with the deepest pockets.

One of the biggest proponents of giving hosting companies and ISP's the right to screw their customers is Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, who famously tried to explain why this is a good idea. His explanation included 'The internets are a series of tubes. And f you send more and bigger trucks down those tubes they should be charged more.' Your elected officials ladies and gentleman.
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