Eccentricities of a Platform and Net Neutrality

Once again coming my way via Rock Paper Shotgun is this amusing blog entry from PC Gamer’s Craig Pearson.  Anyone who has played an FPS on a PC knows the phenomenon and most have accepted it at face value.  Not Mr. Pearson though.  So join him as he delves the dark underbelly of online gaming in a quest to understand the hearts and minds of those strange creatures who sit alone on servers across FPSland.

Also, internet users, might take note that a new Net Neutrality Bill has surfaced. The bill seems to be a solid bit of work aimed at actually helping us (the consumers) and looking to providing us (the internet users) a viable avenue of complaint and action.  From the proposal itself:

The importance of the broadband market place to citizens, communities, and commerce warrants a thorough inquiry to obtain input and ideas for a variety of broadband policies that will promote openness, competition, innovation, and affordable, ubiquitous broadband service for all individuals in the United States.

The bill goes on to discuss amendments to the Communications Act of 1934 to protect the posterity and virility of the internet as a free and open forum for the exchange of ideas by “adopting and enforcing baseline protections to guard against unreasonable discriminatory favoritism for, or degradation of, content by network operators based upon its source, ownership, or destination on the Internet.” The bill doesn’t stop there, it goes on to call for an examination of current and recent practices of broadband providers with regards to anything ranging from spam protection (“unsolicited commercial electronic mail,”), packet handling and traffic handling (“practices by which network providers manage or prioritize network traffic”) to further policies increasing consumer rights within the ‘net (“potential of policies promoting openness in spectrum allocation…through protection from unreasonable interference by network owners of an open marketplace for speech and commerce in content, applications, and services”). The bill manages to go even further, calling for “Broadband Summits” that, to my untrained eyes, amount to a federally backed campaign to promote and examine the use of broadband in a fair and decent manner in a way not only transparent to the public but through which they can participate in further legislation.

The bill, in my opinion, isn’t so much a means to an end as it is an opportunity for further change. Is that change necessarily for the better? I can’t honestly say. But I can say that I think no change at all is worse.

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