Friday, February 27, 2015

Will We All End Up Paying For Net Neutrality ?

So Net Neutrality hasn't just been upheld, but hase been compared to the First Amendment by FCC supreme, Tom Wheeler. The statement is well worth a read.

Verizon's rather petulant response was to issue a terse release from an old fashioned typewriter in morse code. So, tools from the era of the Wild West where exploitation and corruption were endemic are being used to complain about regulation. I think Verizon's ironic statement may itself be, er, ironic. 

I remain ambivalent about this hugely important issue after nearly 20 years. The real issue here is one of provision and there are plenty of places in the world that have little or no decent broadband, or who have serious contention or service issues. The number of people I have met who do not complain about either their mobile or broadband service I could number on two hands.

In my view the information superhighway doesn't need road signs, it needs to be owned, provided and maintained like regular highways for the benefit of us all. OK, there will be single track roads, but they need to be accessible.

The EU now regards internet access as a human right, the UK Government is running farcical ads claiming that Brits have great broadband whilst the reality is the opposite and Australia remains in the early 90s in terms of provision, whilst the cost in countries like South Africa is prohibitive.

So, it's debatable if the FCC's stance will make much difference on a global basis, but it is very good news for the likes of Facebook, but ironically less so for Netflix, whose peering arrangements may now be illegal.

Also, as far as I understand, there is nothing to stop the service providers from charging customers for differentiated services. So, the unintended consequence may be that you or I end up subsidising Google and Facebook.