Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Possible Implications of the FCC's Net Neutrality Loss

Today the F.C.C. lost their case against Comcast that would have forced Comcast to treat all of its network traffic the same whether it be streaming video, BitTorrent sites, or regular HTML content.  This whole ordeal stemmed from Comcast blocking BitTorrent traffic saying it was taking up too much of their bandwidth as, let's be honest, most BitTorrent traffic is someone downloading a movie recorded by some dude in a theater with a camcorder.

I am going to do my best to stay politically neutral on this subject.  Of course one end of the spectrum is going to applaud a victory by big business to make whatever rules they want and another end is going to scream that big business needs to be regulated.  The big question is, what are the implications of this loss?

Let's first look at a doom and gloom scenario (we will use Comcast in this scenario seeing as they were the one's discussed in the case).  Since Comcast has the ability now to restrict what traffic consumers can view via their networks, there is very little to stop them from adjusting their pricing scheme to affect what customers can access. 

"You want to watch TV online through Hulu, no problem - it's just an additional $6.99 a month." 
"We know that you love online gaming, however, it is an additional $12.99 a month."
"Oh, you like searching using Yahoo!?  Sorry, Google has a strict contractual relationship with Comcast so we no longer allow for Yahoo! to run through our network."

While these scenarios are extreme, there is very little that can be done if they decided to go this route.  Especially when you couple that with the fact that Comcast is, in my opinion, a monopoly in most states. 

Now do I really think that they will do something that extreme?  No.  It would have too much of a backlash from consumers.  That being said, there are going to be more restrictions on consumers from Comcast, in the future, which they will claim is to keep a high level of quality to their network and what opponents will claim to be censorship.

I do see the potential issue for small business owners who may have to pay more to compete with bigger companies with deeper pockets since providers can provide priority to network resources to those who may pay more.

Perhaps the F.C.C. should keep itself out of issues such as this.  If government would like to regulate big business actions, maybe they should not protect big business from growing to the behemoth Comcast has become.  Help to break up their monopoly and bring competition giving consumers more options of which ISP they would like to use.  Doing that would create net neutrality by giving consumers a choice of provider.

1 comment:

  1. The actual post already been superb and possess referred this to many of my. We honor for the perform you done. Many thanks once again.