I veer off topic a bit today to share about something that may impact this space someday but really just has my skin crawling.
Provided you don’t live under a rock (i.e. you pay any attention to the news), you’re aware that the FCC recently released their new rules about net neutrality. As an aside, I don’t love the news and often times probably live under a rock, so no judging on that front. I read The Skimm to get at least a glimpse of the latest and greatest in world news, but I’m far from a current events expert and I hate watching all about murders and fires on the local news. Glad we got that disclaimer out of the way.
For those unseasoned in the issue, net neutrality (in my opinion) keeps the Internet a fair playing field. The rules prohibit companies, like Verizon and Comcast, who provide Broadband service from speeding up or slowing down service to specific channels in exchange for payment. In other words, those with deep pockets don’t get an advantage to pay for users to have a better experience with their Internet content.
In its most basic implications, suppose you wanted to start a blog or an online business. Presumably paying an Internet service provider for faster access to your site isn’t in your budget. But you better believe it’s in the budgets of big companies already well-established in their markets. If it wasn’t, the broadband service providers wouldn’t be fighting the new rules tooth and nail concerned about potential revenue it may prohibit.
I’m generally a believer in free markets. A bit of regulation will probably always be necessary to counter the naturally self-serving gravitation of enough people to matter. But for the most part, I think markets work pretty efficiently and support letting them evolve and manage themselves.
While I’m not a net neutrality expert, I just can’t see how net neutrality is bad news for anyone other than broadband service providers and the handful of large companies that would have paid for access to premium Internet speeds and quality. The broadband service providers suggest it stifles innovation and advancement related to the development of the Internet and related activities. I rebut that so many of today’s innovations depend on the Internet and technology and would be hampered by decreased web exposure or more difficult Internet conditions to maneuver that, in fact, the opposite is true.
I like net neutrality. Too much of our lives, education, advancement, and innovation rely on the Internet that it’s only responsible to keep it a fair playing field providing equal access to all users and content providers. “Pay-to-play” Internet just does not sit well with me.
This blog runs on and is hosted by Blogger, a Google company. We all know Google is the behemoth of not only Internet companies but seemingly almost all companies. Every day, it seems, I hear about some start-up company that has had a significant impact on the Internet we know today. As they were executing their impact, Google bought them. Now Google owns everything that matters to the Internet (except the broadband infrastructure, I suppose).
Update: I transitioned the blog over to WordPress, so the above doesn’t entirely apply anymore.
That being said, I don’t know how the elimination of net neutrality would impact my teeny tiny Internet space. I’m not even “a little guy,” I’m smaller than that. I’m just happy that, for now, I don’t have to find out.
Do you have any thoughts on net neutrality?