Soapbox Rant : Corporate Cries Against Net Neutrality

Soapbox Rant

First AT&T, then Comcast and now Verizon are complaining about net neutrality. Nothing wrong with a little complaining, but these are the richest companies in the US with congress in their pockets.

Refresher course : Net neutrality is a network free of restrictions on content, sites, or platforms, on the kinds of equipment that may be attached, and on the modes of communication allowed, as well as one where communication is not unreasonably degraded by other communication streams. Which basically means content is content and no matter if it is on Youtube or on Yahoo it should all be assesible equally without control or limitations.

These large companies made a business decision, a long time ago, to ignore all factors and trends moving towards internet exclusive content. Now they are kicking themselves in the arse with demands that the US Government intervene. Where were these  telecommunications companies when the music industry had to adopt to online access?  iTunes, the biggest source for music went live in 2000 after buying from a developer who was offering online music back in 1999. That is almost 10 years ago; technology standards 6 months is considered old.

Individual shows started to utilized the internet early. In 1994, ABC’s “World News Now” was the first television show to be broadcast over the Internet, using the now defunct “CU-SeeMe” videoconferencing software.  The major broadcast players didn’t start putting regular programming online until after users did it for them on YouTube and other internet resources without prior permission. Which the broadcasting companies missed out on the advertizing revenue for almost 15 years!  Let’s do the math:  a possible profit of, (minimal average over 15 years) $.50/day over 15 years for 1000 individual videos would be over 2.7 million dollars.  Oops. Imagine that will 10,000 individual videos online.

Now AT&T, Comcast and Verizon are pissed.  We are no longer buying old lan-line phones, people are dropping their cable for internet only programming, and hogging up the cell phone bandwidth.

These companies made a choice to ignore trends and adopt.  This is no different from the auto companies receiving tax-payer’s money in form of bailout money. Ford, the only company that didn’t want bailout money, has cars averaging 60 mpg in the UK.  Ford adopted for the need of UK while still producing those gas hogs for the US. Now Ford closed shop in the US and taking their business to China building better mpg cars, which means the next Ford you buy is actually an import. This cry for net control and end net neutrality is another bailout in form of FCC regulation.  The poorly managed telecommunications want to control the internet and profit via control.

I digress.  Net neutrality is a threat to those companies that do not want to change the way they do business. They want revenue without change.    They just want their profits to be like before 1996, before Google, Yahoo, Skype and YouTube took initiative in developing online apps and search capabilities we use most. Now they they want to control the net, control your access and force you to use their limited services. The poorly managed telecommunications companies profit will be customer driven to contractual content. Just like DirectTV with their exclusive football package or how your are stuck with 300 cable channels when you only really watch 5 or 6.

Imagine the only way to watch your favorite programming is through multiple providers.  You can’t afford to have redundant bills, that is why you ditched your lan-line phone. You will have to choose and give up access, technical Sophia’s Choice.

There is a silver lining. One thing I know about the internet community, we always find a way to get what we want more efficiently and with less expense.  So, go ahead FCC and listen to the complaints of poorly managed telecommunications companies. Any control of the internet will just lead to  gridlock and create a virtual fascist state.

According to the FCC news release, FCC does side for the user and not the providers of broadband Internet service:

  1. ISP would not be allowed to prevent any of its users from sending or receiving the lawful content of the userâ’s choice over the Internet;
  2. ISP would not be allowed to prevent any of its users from running the lawful applications or using the lawful services of the userâ’s choice;
  3. ISP would not be allowed to prevent any of its users from connecting to and using on its network the userâ’s choice of lawful devices that do not harm the network;
  4. ISP would not be allowed to deprive any of its users of the userâ’s entitlement to competition among network providers, application providers, service providers, and content providers;
  5. ISP would be required to treat lawful content, applications, and services in a nondiscriminatory manner; and
  6. ISP would be required to disclose such information concerning network management and other practices as is reasonably required for users and content, application, and service providers to enjoy the protections specified in this rulemaking.

Comments for this proposal are due Jan. 14, with replies to comments due Mar. 5.

With the rest of the world moving towards national wifi/broadband the United States will debate control of the limited resources.  It is sort of like arguing over one tuna sandwich when the United States should be putting out a national wifi/broadband . . . making more sandwiches (some tuna, other PB&J and other dagwood style).

President Obama campaigned on a promise of network neutrality, will this politician’s promise remain strong against the poorly managed telecommunications companies and the directly supported Republicans?  I guess we will know more after we spend our hard earned money on Christmas presents which will include computers, gaming consoles and internet devices.