If you’ve been following stuff online for the past couple months, you’ll know that the idea of net neutrality has once again made it into the spotlight.
For those who don’t know, net neutrality rules basically dictated that internet service providers (ISPs) could not charge different prices for different content creators to get their content to consumers. For example, under those rules, Comcast couldn’t charge Netflix an extra fee in order to get their stuff streamed (this is a cost that would undoubtedly get tossed back down to the consumer).
It’s a bad way to run business, and stunts innovation, not allowing new startups to compete with the big companies that can afford to pay for such spikes in cost.
Today, the FCC decided to roll back on those regulations, and Netflix wasn’t too happy. According to Variety, the streaming service said:
“We’re disappointed in the FCC’s decision to gut the net neutrality protections that ushered in an unprecedented era of innovation, creativity and civic engagement. Today’s decision is the beginning of a longer legal battle. Netflix will stand with innovators, large and small, to oppose this misguided FCC order.”
We normally don’t get political on this site, but we figure this is one exception: this is an awful idea, and makes it so that large companies are the only ones able to afford to get their content to the consumer.
If one day Comcast decided that LRM would have to pay a ridiculous extra fee in order to get their content to consumers without killer load times, smaller sites like us would likely not be able to foot the bill. The rolling back of net neutrality regulations make this a very real possibility.
Another scenario is that if Comcast decides to launch their own streaming service, they can throttle Netflix’s speed so that their own service gets favored by their customers.
The argument against this is that the consumers can vote with their wallets to go to a different ISP if they don’t like their regulations, but the internet industry in the U.S. is such an oligopoly that consumers don’t have much competition to retreat to. As such, ISPs are pretty much given all the power here.
We’ll be following this story closely.
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