The FCC is voting on net neutrality. What’s that? It’s essentially a set of rules that would require high-speed internet providers like Comcast, WOW, etc. from slowing down some types of websites or applications or speeding up others. In terms of slowing down and speeding up, think competitors and then businesses that are willing to pay more. It evens the playing field and eliminates that from happening. After all, if I have Comcast, but want or need to access something on a competitor’s site, why should I have a more difficult time doing so other than my provider wanting to make it that way?
Unfortunately, not everybody is happy with the way it’s currently structured. Some folks believe it doesn’t go far enough since it doesn’t require the same standards for mobile communications. I’m apparently one of the few people out there who doesn’t use the internet on my phone, so I can’t really comment on what that experience is like. However, if I did use it and my provider was slowing down sites or apps on purpose, I’d be a little more than annoyed. It might even cause me to change providers since I don’t operate under long-term contracts with any of them anymore.
The one part that confuses me is that while net neutrality is supposed to stop these providers from slowing some things down or speeding other things up, it would allow for different levels of service with different price ranges. Doesn’t that negate the whole neutrality bit? Could this be one of those loopholes we hear about?
It should also come as no surprise that the broadband companies have complained about the new rules, too. They suggest “that new rules are likely to have the perverse effect of inhibiting capital investment, deterring innovation, raising operating costs and ultimately increasing consumer prices.” How? Why? Ironically, they don’t say.
The net neutrality vote will be something to keep our eyes on, especially if and how the rules are finalized since it’ll either do what it’s supposed to or offer another out for the companies it’s supposed to be policing. It wouldn’t be the first time and it certainly won’t be the last.