In the Future, Where There Is No Internet

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The LA Times reports on the hilarious conspiracy video that's been giving net neutrality advocates a bad name:

The video, "2012: The Year the Internet Ends," has been watched nearly 1.5 million times since it was posted on YouTube June 1. In it, the group says over ominous music that it has high-level sources at significant Internet service providers around the globe who have revealed that they are jointly planning to unveil a new subscription-based pricing model in 2012. Under the plan, the group says, ISP users would get access to a few basic websites and be forced to pay extra to go anywhere else on the Internet.

I Power is using the plan to advocate for network neutrality — rules to prevent Internet providers from discriminating against individual websites.

But there's a major problem with I Power's theory. If you're going to have a worldwide conspiracy, then it would seem vital to include the world's wealthiest country. And in the United States, the plan I Power is talking about would violate federal rules.

Meanwhile, giving net neutrality a good name, some Comcast users are in their second week of a program that's limiting traffic at peak times, while trying not to throttle the system.

"Unless you are an extremely heavy user of internet resources (which is not likely) you will not notice any change to your internet experience during this test," Mitch Bowling, general manager of Comcast online services says in the e-mail. "At the busiest times of the day on our network (which could occur at any time), those very few disproportionately heavy users, who are doing things like conducting numerous or continuous large file transfers, may experience slightly longer response times for some online activities, until the period of network congestion ends."

The move is designed to set aside complaints that the Philadelphia-based company has been throttling BitTorrent data and other peer-to-peer traffic to manage congestion. Comcast's practices have been the subject of hearings before the Federal Communications Commission, which is set to announce new rules concerning the concept of net neutrality.

Comcast announced in March it was switching to a new network management technique by the end of the year for managing bandwidth use and congestion. The company said it was partnering with BitTorrent Inc. of San Francisco, to develop a neutral traffic-management protocol.

I'm optimistic about a solution that came about via filesharers and telcos knocking their heads together like this; I'll be curious to see whether it works.