Mourning the death of Net Neutrality

In yet another victory for big money, the (obviously paid off) FCC voted to allow the ideal of Net Neutrality to die a quick death. We, as consumers of the net, should mourn.
What was Net Neutrality and why did it matter? Basically, the rule prevented big money from being able to get preferred access to the pipelines that feed content to us consumers. This is often presented in the opposite way: most often, NN rules were presented as preventing infrastructure providers from charging more to those who used the most bandwidth. That presentation, however, makes the death of Neutrality seem like a good and fair thing. After all, if Netflix uses more bandwidth than, well, they should pay more. Right?
And that’s what the providers want us to think – that they are allowing fairness. After all, the providers are the plaintiffs in this case and content suppliers like Netflix are those opposed. And they should be, because, with the way the rules were, no provider could charge them more just because they used more bandwidth. Now that the rules have been changed, they will pay more for the same access they had before.
Like most things when money is involved, the reality is different. Sure, Netflix will have to pay more, but they’ll charge us more to make up for it.
The real losers here are new companies and us, the consumers. We’ll get the same Netflix, but now they will charge more and claim the end of Neutrality is why. But it’s the up and coming companies, the Facebook and Netflix and Twitter of the future is who will really lose. Because unlike the Netflix that will just up its rates, the new companies, those seeking to build their base, they get sent to the slow lane.
Would Twitter, Facebook or Netflix be who they are today if they had to compete for bandwidth? While Facebook spent years trying to figure out how to monetize, would they have survived if users had to wait for page refreshes or wall updates? Would it be AOL at the top of the heap because they could afford the speed? Or maybe MySpace?
Just like everywhere in business today, the big guy has the advantage. The web was different. Anyone with an idea competed on the same playing field as everyone else. Sure, Verizon and Comcast and their government lackies in the FCC claim that those that use the most will pay the most. But what they are lying about through omission is the truth. There will now be a fast lane and a slow lane and only the big money will be able to pay for speed.
In one ruling, the FCC has guaranteed that you and I will pay more for what we already have AND likewise guaranteed that the next big thing, the next killer app, the next Twitter or Facebook is going to start life with a serious handicap.
So much for change we can trust.


~ by Mad Prophet on May 19, 2014.

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