mash: op ed / social business
I’m new to the blogosphere. It is a chance speak my mind, give a voice to the silent, and poke a bit of fun at the neurosis we call life. And while I do that I might be able make enough money to buy a bra or new part or shoes? NO-BRAINER! With impeccable timing, in comes Tom Wheeler and the FCC. I’m sure you’ve heard about it: “net neutrality”.
And if you’re like me you had to do delve into Civic 101 to find out how the FCC operates, what this “net neutrality” really was, and how the heck it could affect you. I mean, I’m just a small-time blogger. I don’t run in the circles of CEOs, senators, and posh millionaires. So what in the world would this have to do with me, right? In a quick boil down of the issue: net neutrality means that all internet traffic is treated the same. The new FCC regulations would allow internet service companies (like Verizon) to charge business (like eBay) and content providers (like Hulu) more money to have faster more reliable service. In essence, a company can pay a premium to get treated better, and faster than those who do not. I don’t pretend to know the ends and outs of the FCC. Anyone who just heard about this story recently and acts like they do should just sit down. This is complicated stuff, and there are many factors at play. In fact, after much research I’ve come to the conclusion that maybe a bit of regulation is needed. Regulation–not taxation. However, this is one thing I know–businesses will pass along price increases to the customer.
Many amazing writers, app builders and merchandise moguls started with a website and a dream. It’s already an uphill battle, being a small fish in a big, international pool. Giving the established business with deeper pockets an opportunity to have high priority and capacity is just another strike against us.
I can’t imagine, if given the opportunity, ISPs wouldn’t charge content providers and companies for priority speeds. A majority of businesses might bowing to the social pressure of the public said ‘Hey, I’m not going to charge Amazon to get a faster speed than eBay.” And that might last a while, until just one gets greedy, or realizes how much money they could be making–and how long would that take? And if one ISP does it, the laws of good business says that rest must follow if they want to stay competitive. And once Amazon pays an extra fee for faster speed, eBay will follow. After all, they want to stay competitive too. And as consumers, we’d all suffer. Websites like Netflix, Hulu, eBay, Google and Amazon are in fields of stiff competition where the speed of their sites count–they will pay the fees. Then, they will either charge us to make up the loss, or the quality of their services will go down. Even if it’s just a “minor” increase of 3%-5% across the medium of websites that a consumer uses, that’s a big deal. If someone told me my paycheck was going to be cut by 3%-5% I’d be mad, so why would I be OK with this? It’s just a roundabout form of taxation. And now, as a new content provider I just throw my hands in the air. Many amazing writers, app builders and merchandise moguls started with a website and a dream. It’s already an uphill battle, being a small fish in a big, international pool. Giving the established business with deeper pockets an opportunity to have high priority and capacity is just another strike against us. And its more than the small blogger who would suffer. Sellers on sites like eBay and etsy are likely to see the sites asking for a bigger cut of their profits. App designers that huddle in coffee shops with silicone dreams and an Apple might find it more difficult to launch the next big thing. In the end, after all of the grandstanding and promulgation, it’s simple: the weak terminology in the new FCC proposal opens a window to allow a big business to make more money on the backs of the little guy–us.
Great Resources On The Subject Of Net Neutrality Issue
Watch a great, fun, “unboring” explanation of the central ideas of this issue by John Oliver
(yes, he curses occasionally)
How do you feel about Net Neutrality? Do you think it would effect you?