Network Neutrality – the Double Edged Sword

On Friday the FCC ruled that Comcast had violated network neutrality principles last year through its traffic management of BitTorrent. The company was ordered to disengage in these practices and disclose to subscribers in advance any future changes to how it manages data. This should have been a significant milestone for unfettered, open internet for U.S. consumers, but I think it unfortunately may be the beginning of the end.

For starters, the FCC’s ruling has no teeth and can be viewed as just a slap on the wrist. It cannot be enforced by the agency and will undoubtedly be challenged because the Supreme Court has previously ruled that the FCC has no power to regulate “unless and until Congress confers power upon it.” This said conferring of power has yet to occur in regards to regulating how companies manage access to the series of tubes. Under this premise, Comcast has every right to fight the ruling and probably would win. The caveat here is that it may open the door for Congress to examine its role in regulating how internet access is managed, resulting in a net neutrality law enforced by the FCC.

While net neutrality protects against the tiering of traffic speed, ISP compliance could result in full adoption of metered consumer billing where users are charged for their total monthly data instead of simply access to the internet. Seems moderately reasonable until you realize it is structured to fight against online video. This model ensures that if you cancel your cable, you will still windup paying for content that would otherwise be free and ad supported. To the detriment of consumers, cable companies are slowing learning that the game is changing and that they have become a commodity. Consumers do not need to pay them for content anymore because it is legally available online. Whether net neutrality is accepted or not, consumers lose.

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more about “Net Neutrality Act | The Daily Show |…“, posted with vodpod
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2 responses to “Network Neutrality – the Double Edged Sword

  1. Pingback: Regulators…Mount Up « Connected

  2. Pingback: Killing the Internet One Innovative User at a time « Connected

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