FCC net neutrality rules overturned....the Internet is not going to fill with tollgates

Submitted by acohill on Wed, 01/15/2014 - 17:17

This CNet article is one of the best summaries of the foofaraw over the FCC net neutrality reversal.

I have always been a contrarian on this issue. The big fear is that if the incumbents are free to charge differential pricing for different kinds of content, content will get more expensive. The classic example, which is used in the article, is that Comcast or Verizon will charge subscribers $10 a month more to access Netflix or Youtube because those services use so much bandwidth.

My response is "So? They are running a business. They should be able to charge whatever they want. If they price their service too high, a truly open market will introduce competition and they will a) lose customers, or b) lower prices."

Now this is where some people will start grumbling about incumbent use of public right of way and the obligation of right of way users to be "fair."

If Comcast raises their prices on their old-fashioned copper infrastructure, it might create the right market conditions for a new company to lay fiber...in the right of way...and provide a better service at lower cost. Net Neutrality, as currently conceived, benefits the incumbents more than it hurts them by discouraging "true" pricing and thereby limiting competition. I suspect that the incumbents find it useful street theatre to complain about net neutrality but actually like it. It keeps the riff-raff start ups out of their markets.

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