You Want To Change My Internet? By John Young
By now I am sure you have heard about the discussions around Net Neutrality and how it will affect your daily use of the internet.
Net Neutrality is the principle that internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites.
Changing the current net neutrality would mean that your local and national ISPs (internet service provider) would have the ability to charge a fee to either the end user (you) or the content services (Youtube, Netflix, Facebook, Amazon Prime). These additional fees would be to let their higher bandwidth content flow at an unrestricted rate.
This is causing quite a stir across the United States of America.
The FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has been a strong proponent against the current Net Neutrality rules governing the ISPs (that ISPs are considered common carriers and can not vary how they carry content). He feels these rules need to be changed to help ISPs build new infrastructure and invest in a better internet.
Major tech companies have also lined up on opposing sides of the debate. Google, Apple, Amazon, and Netflix support net neutrality, while internet service providers (ISPs) including Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T have long rallied against it.
To give you an idea of what this might look like if Title II of the Communications Act is revoked (the act that made ISPs a common carrier), here are a few potential thoughts.
1. Things would stay the same for the end users.
2. Large ISPs would start to cut deals with large content providers who would pay for premium content flow to end users; making it an uneven playing field for new or upstart content providers (or content sources that don’t share the same beliefs as the large ISPs). These costs would invariably be passed on to the end user (us) in increased monthly fees.
3. ISPs could pass the extra bandwidth costs off to consumers. There are models out there right now internationally where consumers can buy ‘upgrades’ to their current cell phone data service to add a video, social media, or gaming option to their base data package. A variation of this could come to our home internet service where we pay a flat fee for basic speeds on our access, then could pay an additional fee to ‘bump up the speed’ on some of the common web streaming services.
4. Something else could happen since you really can’t find two internet experts who can agree on how this will work out.
A few interesting points:
1. The prior FCC Chairman (Tom Wheeler) was starting the process to investigate AT&T and Verizon for violation of the Net Neutrality rules which could have lead to some FCC actions against those two ISP companies. Mr. Wheeler was replaced two weeks later by the current FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, and the investigation has been shelved.
2. Current FCC Chairman Ajit Pai was a lawyer working for Verizon before coming to the position of FCC Chairman.
3. The statement of ‘it will help ISPs finance growth and infrastructure’ sounds like a great thing for users. But studies have shown that large publically held corporations tend to answer to stockholders first. Meaning, if there is more money to be made that increases the ISP’s bottom line, that money will go back to the shareholders nine times out of 10.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I have NO problem paying a premium fee for high-speed internet access. Just by living where we do, we pay a fee well beyond what our friends pay for similar or better internet service in metro areas. A large business internet fee is the cost of doing business in a rural area.
What I DO have issues with is the part where online content could be controlled and tweaked by ISPs to taint the information that today’s public consumes and believes as factual from the internet.
It stands to reason that a political organization with enough money could dictate what information is allowed to pass through the internet world for consumer access. This could lead to information that is in support of a political rival or about a contrary idea being censored while information in support of ISPs ownership’s beliefs is given preferential treatment.
This could make the Russian Facebook ads mess look like child’s play.
I think the Title II Communications Act regarding internet access will be changed. There are some things that could be freed up that might help our rural ISPs to free up capital for infrastructure investments. I hope that our legislatures, who seem not to be overly concerned about the huge lobby groups bought and paid for by the large ISPs like Comcast and Verizon, will make changes that will be in the benefit of users and their long-term success in the internet world.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is expected to vote on its plan to kill net neutrality on December 14.
We will cover this a bit more in-depth on our weekly news program at http://www.hometownnewstv.com.
John Young is the founder of Small Town Business Do It Yourself (DIY). You can send questions on social media and website design to John at [email protected]
You Want To Change My Internet? By John Young