The Open Internet & Innovation

upgrade through innovation, not permission.

There was a time, in the wake of the supreme court's carterfone ruling in 1968, when suddenly, people could hook any devices they wanted to up to the phone network.


The phone companies hated this so much because they wanted the ability to charge additional monthly fees for every single little thing that anybody could do on the phone system. fees for voice messages. fees to have a touchtone phone. extremely high fees to send/receive data.


the dirty secret was none of these things actually COST anything more.


Along came the acoustic modem. it could transmit 110 bits per second. that's slower than most people can type.


as long as any two people on the phone network had one of these modems, they could communicate electronically.


modem manufacturers quickly sprouted and there got to be an innovation war.


even though they were utilizing the same connection, at the same exact cost, one modem after another kept coming onto the market that could go faster. they all adhered to publicly known standards, which meant they'd work together right away. the speeds, to the horror of the phone companies, went up from 110bps to 300, for less money. then to 1200... for less money... then 2400, 9600, 19200, 56K... so the people who bought a modem that went at 56K actually paid less money for their device than the trailblazers who got those 110 bps modems. but all that any of these modems did was use one phone connection. these things were not taxing the network. they were innovating in the way they utilized the same amount of bandwidth.


we need to restore that kind of free market innovation, in the broadband arena.


When broadband came along, though, the phone companies, who had just watched a public keep upgrading speeds without their permission and without paying them more money each time they got faster, even though it didn't cost the phone companies more, decided to make a land grab. nobody would notice, would they, if the phone and cable companies would completely take over what devices would be connected to the network? if the phone companies control the devices, and the protocols, and the speeds, then there couldn't be this lively market of speed innovation anymore, and so now we have been stuck at around the same speeds... for going on 15 years.


to make a long story short, I say that violates net neutrality, and phone and cable companies have to just GIVE US A CONNECTION to the real internet, and if somebody invents a faster communications device, we should have the freedom to install that and get faster, without having to pay somebody for whom it does not cost more anyway.


40 votes
Idea No. 89