The Bankwatch

Tracking the consumer evolution of financial services

Net neutrality as a concept is a disaster

Net neutrality as a concept is a disaster. President Obama has introduced a new law that contains principles which are worrying.

US watchdog heeds Obama on net neutrality

Advocates of the open internet principle — known as “net neutrality” — want to ensure that broadband providers are banned from setting up fee-based internet fast lanes or “throttling” content from websites that use a lot of bandwidth or compete with their affiliates.

Why you may ask do I feel this way. The concept of net neutrality is often reduced to internet as a utility such as electricity or water.  Internet is so not that.  

Electricity and water are on and off concepts.  It works or it doesn’t.  Internet on the other hand has upload speeds, download speeds, consistency of speeds in general and consistency of speed relative to specific applications such as torrents or netflix as two examples.

Therefore internet is much more complicated than a utility. It is more aligned with cable TV or toll roads.  In both those cases you as a consumer can achieve better results if you pay more.  But if you do not want to pay for the top tier movie and sport channels and go with basic then its your choice to watch the basic channels, or drive on the side roads.  There is nothing wrong with that model.

Net neutrality suggests that the top tier movie and sport channels should be free.

Then lets talk abut download speeds.  Net neutrality suggests we all get equal speeds.  This is a race towards the lowest common denominator.  Gamers and folks who want super fast speeds would never see them because Net Neutrality would force providers to optimise for the slowest and worst service.  There is no incentive for providers to optimise speed, only to optimise availability.

Whenever a provider optimises for avaialbility then premium considerations such as upload speeds, download speeds and application specific speeds disappear.  Everyone is treated to an equally poor service level.

Written by Colin Henderson

February 27, 2015 at 02:51

Posted in Uncategorized

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