Enough with the Net Neutrality Chicken Littles!

from https://pixabay.com/en/hacking-hacker-computer-internet-1685092/

So my mom and dad, in their late 70s, have a computer, which mom uses for Facebook, mostly, where she likes 12 Tomatoes recipes and reads about animal shelters and rescue organizations.  She has an e-mail account, which is mostly full of coupons and advertisements.  What dad does on the computer I don’t quite know, now that he’s stopped the stock trading he used to do.

Streaming?  Netflix?  Amazon Prime?  Even YouTube is foreign to her, except as a link on Facebook.

So why should she pay the same for internet service as someone who streams movies day after day, or watches sports or YouTube videos?  There’s no reason for it.  And don’t tell me that there is no difference in cost to service providers between someone using their service a little or a lot — even if, at any given point in time, there is no “meterable” cost in the same way as there would be with electricity or natural gas usage, it is for the heavy users’ benefit that the ISPs are building out their capacity, not to provide Facebook access to senior citizens.

Which makes me fundamentally sympathetic to the anti- so-called Net Neutrality side.  Absent the development of a “metering” capacity to internet usage (and as far as I am aware, that hasn’t existed since the days of dial-up modems), it seems to be the most feasible way to ensure that users of heavy data, pay for their usage, by having those heavy-data websites pay ISPs to compensate for the costs they generate.

And, in the end, this isn’t about the Little Guy standing up to Big ISP.  This is Big Tech, Big Content Provider, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and the rest of them, suckering internet users into fighting for the business model that advantages them.  You think that cable companies are taking advantage of their customers?  There are competitors.  Around here, we can choose from Comcast, WOW, AT&T, and maybe some others.  Sure, we could stand to have more widespread competition among internet providers, but encouraging competition is a better alternative to regulating them as monopolies — especially while the near-monopolies like Facebook and Google/Alphabet, which control a massive share of the online advertising revenue, themselves go unregulated.

And what about the fears that Comcast will start censoring our internet access?  Given that Twitter, Facebook, Google, etc., already have that power, by their decisions about what’s acceptable and what isn’t, decisions they make on their own and, in other countries, are required to implement to avoid government “anti-hate speech” fines, I’m reluctant to take their word for it that it’s not themselves but Comcast that poses the danger.

So I’m sorry, but I don’t have any sympathy for the overblown claims of “the end of the internet as we know it,” or that (as written in anticipation of the FCC decision), “the internet — as we know it — is likely to die Thursday at the hands of the Trump administration.”  Dial it back, please, and don’t demand that grandma subsidize your bandwidth, and then let’s talk.

 

Image:  from https://pixabay.com/en/hacking-hacker-computer-internet-1685092/

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