Corporate Internet Complaints

In an age where people can not only work, socialize and shop online is it really surprising that the public was outraged by the fight for net neutrality. As I have discussed in previous blogs, the internet can act as someone’s livelihood, so when the public began flooding the FCC’s website with comments on the FCC’s proposed plan to allow online companies to pay more for “internet fast lanes” caused the website to crash.

The FCC plan essentially made it so very few would have access to faster internet that would only benefit the wealthier corporations. “This portends a future Internet where the 1% get to drive on the fast lane and the 99% are left in the slow lane,” warned Michael Copps, a former FCC commissioner. In an time where corporations are given the same rights as people, it’s not really surprising to see that the government was willing to benefit big business.

Interestingly enough American internet is not great. American internet users will tell you the its not great but when compared on an international scale, the U.S. is looking pretty lousy. According to this study, the U.S. is ranked at a measly 31 for internet download speeds, even Estonia is faster than the U.S. American upload speeds are even more depressing, Lesotho is faster than the U.S.

Americans can blame corporations for their internet lags and the never ending loading circle of doom. Susan Crawford argues that “huge telecommunication companies” such as Comcast, Time Warner, Verizon, and AT&T have “divided up markets and put themselves in a position where they’re subject to no competition.” Without this competition the big internet providers can provide subpar internet service and without a better alternative consumers are expected to just deal with it.

 “We deregulated high-speed internet access 10 years ago and since then we’ve seen enormous consolidation and monopolies… Left to their own devices, companies that supply internet access will charge high prices, because they face neither competition nor oversight,” Crawford said. 

Why is this continuing to happen? Why haven’t American internet users rose up to claim their better internet? Maybe they’re used to it. Maybe they’re unaware of how U.S. internet ranks internationally. Maybe they don’t expect America to be number one for anything other than incarceration rates. I really don’t know, but perhaps if the corporations were more regulated than U.S. internet could be better. Like the Newsroom clip I included in this article states, “America is not the best, but it could be” (I’m linking it again because I really enjoy the Newsroom).


Profiting From the Internet

Be honest, at some point in your life you’ve probably watched a video that has gone viral on YouTube. It could be anything, it could be one of those cat in a box videos or an online comedian or even a music video. With the expansion of the Internet people are actually able to make money off the videos they post to platforms like YouTube.

According to this article from The New York Times people are able to make a living off of their online videos and no longer need to work because their income is funded by their online videos. It’s great. People are able to make a living by creating engaging videos, but how long can they keep that up for? Well, if the video posters are Internet savvy they manage to maintain their audience and increase it by adapting and keeping up with online trends. For example, Hannah Hart the creator of the “My Drunk Kitchen” videos went from just trying to cook while she got comically drunk to including other YouTube sensations in her videos. From there she has gone on to act in movies like Camp Takota and is supposed to star in a re-boot of Electra Woman and Dyna Girl. Hart went from making silly videos in her kitchen to acting for Hollywood. That’s a really cool way to start a career and it also reveals how powerful the Internet can be.

While making money from the Internet seems great, there can be some down sides as illustrated through the backlash Arianna Huffington received after she sold The Huffington Post to AOL. She was called a “sellout” and has been widely criticized for profiting from the work of her unpaid bloggers that contribute content to the site. In fairness, she should have been paying her bloggers since they were creating the content and driving people toward the website.

So while some people like Hannah Hart are supported for profiting from their online content, others like Huffington (who founded HuffPo) are criticized and seen as selling out because they tried to make a profit.