Net neutrality is an admittedly chewy topic.
In the simplest of definitions, it’s the belief that the flow of Internet traffic from content creators to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should be equal.
Huge broadband or wireless companies (Time Warner, Comcast, etc) have ways of clogging the flow of traffic so content providers (Netflix, Hulu, etc) without leverage are forced to pay for special privileges so their customers continue to have great experiences and don’t ditch them for another service. This is bad if you’re a net neutrality advocate.
If you want to read more than that on the interior details of net neutrality, I’d suggest Tim Lee’s feature over at Vox. It explains everything in a way you can understand.
I don’t want to dive any deeper into the gory details of net neutrality than that, but on this blog we talk about content and its business, and so this subject is vital to the future of content creation and general innovation of the Web. A restricted Internet results in restricted options for you as a content consumer, because it makes life for the next wave of startups much more difficult.
As customers, we’re pro-competition; that forces services and their offerings to become better and better, driving up the quality of the content market. That’s why this issue is important, but it’s not the real reason I’m posting about it now.
The REAL reason is that John Oliver recently went off on net neutrality on his HBO show Last Week Tonight, and it gives me a good excuse to share it here.
I don’t even care if Oliver’s segment might not have been entirely accurate, and I promise you don’t have to be a media wonk or like the subject of net neutrality (who does?) to enjoy this video.
It’s hilarious, and make sure you stick around to the 11:30 mark to listen to Oliver address Internet commenters with a call to action. Brilliant. (And thanks to Ezra Klein for his post on Vox, where I ran across this video.)
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