By Matthew Brown, Publisher

Net Neutrality, the idea that all data traveling across the Internet is equal, is one of the founding principles of the Internet itself. In much of the world, this concept is enshrined by law. In the United States however, this basic principle is in serious danger. Under a current FCC proposal that could become law, bought and paid for by lobbyists, websites that can afford to and are willing to pony up the scratch can gain access to an "Internet fast lane". Those who cannot or will not pay could have their data throttled to the point that it is essentially undeliverable. The customers of ISPs such as cable and phone companies pay for Internet access with the promise that all data is equal, and in the US, we are paying more for less than anywhere else in the developed world. This is still not enough to please greedy corporate tycoons. They want originators of content to pay as well for their "fast lane". That is double dipping.

Double dipping originally referred to a fraud perpetuated by medical billing companies. They would bill an insurance company, pretend they had not, and also bill the patient for the same services. Gullible people who did not pay close attention to their bills, especially seniors, fell for this. Companies were paid twice for something done only once. That is stealing. Every time this confidence game has been exposed, it has been harshly dealt with. Now, the likes of Verizon, Comcast, Time Warner and a host of local players are trying to do the same. They want to be paid twice to deliver content once. First they want content providers to pay, then subscribers as well. This would be theft when the product is Internet service just as much as when it was medical service.

Have you already paid for Internet access, and want to watch a YouTube video in high definition quality? Do you want to play a video game online with your game console or PC? Tough! You will not get what you paid for unless the guy on the other end, whether that is YouTube, Play Station Network or Xbox Network also pays. You have been ripped off. This is the future we face if the FCC does not get out of bed with one of the industries they are supposed to be regulating, and start doing their jobs. Public pressure is the only thing that will get their attention. Write to them.