How does the recent FCC Net Neutrality ruling affect us? It affects our basic internet connectivity, what we pay, and who sets the price. With this ruling the Federal Government is now regulating the largest and most innovative platform in centuries.
It is pretty much guaranteed that the cost of our individual internet will increase because of the ruling.
The ruling puts ISP’s (Internet Service Providers) into the same regulatory framework as telephone companies, which laws have root in the Communications Act of 1934. Yes, we now have our grandfather’s rules to stifle the internet just like they did telephone innovation for over fifty years.
The internet infrastructure is financed by large companies who invest hundreds of millions of dollars in building and upgrading the system. ISP’s like ATT, Earthlink, Sprint, Verizon, etc. make these huge investments, and get a return by selling connectivity to consumers, businesses, and content providers. Some of these content providers use large amounts of bandwidth by streaming movies and program content to individual consumers, and right now, these customers are not really paying for the bandwidth they receive.
Companies like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu are the ones streaming high bandwidth video over the internet, posing a problem for the internet suppliers. ISP’s have to invest additional millions of dollars in upgrading the system, and would like to charge the Netflix’s of the world for that bandwidth.
Some ISP’s have penalized Netflix and other video streamers by slowing the data streams to their customers. This has raised a howl from Netflix, etc. To pay for the increased demand for their services, Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, etc., do not want want to raise their price to consumers because they, too, are in a competitive market.
That’s where the government comes in to “take the part of the consumer”. Now, the ISP’s are not allowed to treat any one customer differently from any other. Every customer on the internet is entitled to the same bandwidth as any other customer for the same price. This means that the ISP’s will raise their prices on everybody to pay for the increased investment, and we all will pay for the bandwidth for people addicted to Netflix and Amazon streaming services.
There is a danger the ISP’s will dig-in and not fund the massive investments necessary to upgrade the internet to handle all that streaming traffic. Innovation can plummet just like when the US Government backed the AT&T telephone monopoly for over fifty years.
Do you think there will be additional “fees” on your internet statement, now that the Federal Government has decided to regulate what we read, think, say, and pay?
Left alone, the market would solve the problem. People would pay for their movie watching thrills, and others would pay for the bandwidth they use and generate. For some reason the government does not like that.
Net Neutrality is not neutral. It is an attack on the freedom of the internet to give away services to those who do not want to pay. Does this sound familiar?