We created the video game, Net Profit, as an illustration of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) competing in a market place. Instead of writing an essay, news article or blog post, we decided that this complex network of actors could be explored in an interactive model. We position the user of this simulation as an ISP looking to be profitable. In doing so an overlap is created between the desires of the player and the real-world interests of the ISPs, potentially offering a fruitful way to think about the problem at hand. Earlier this year, the United States Federal Communications Commission was tasked with assessing the proposed merger of Time Warner and Comcast, two of the largest ISPs in the United States. Many internet activists have vehemently opposed this potentiality, claiming that it threatens basic principles of what Law professor Tim Wu has called "net neutrality." The term refers to the treatment of all bits equally. That is, no data from any source should have priority on the internet. This fundamental claim entails that no user receives special treatment and is therefore essential to fair internet. We feel that net neutrality should be protected and that the greatest risk to it in a capitalist system is monopoly rent. With too few corporations to choose from, it becomes impossible to favour those ISPs which support a fair internet. Instead, it behoves regulatory bodies such as the FCC to limit the power that major corporations have in both avoiding competition and in lobbying for detrimental changes to communications policy.

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Published 2 years ago
StatusIn development