Cafe Witness

Friday, September 07, 2007

5 Good Things About the Death of Net Neutrality

According the the BBC, the Department of Justice has decided that Net Neutrality is bad for America.

If you don't know, the basic concept of Net Neutrality is that ANYONE, ANYWHERE, should have the EXACT SAME ACCESS TO ALL INFORMATION as EVERYONE else. That means a poor inner-city student using her library's computer and a corporate CEO in his penthouse apartment should be able to surf the EXACT SAME INTERNET at the EXACT SAME SPEED.

The Department of Justice (perhaps momentarily forgetting the name of their office) disagrees. They believe Net Neutrality -- aka the internet as we've always known it -- hinders business growth.

Instead, the DOJ sides with the ISPs in suggesting that ISPs should be able to charge more for priority traffic -- or, in other words, if you want the web to work the way it always has, you should have to pay more.

Normally, I'd be livid about this argument. But, because September is No Woe Month here at Cafe Witness, I'd like to look at things from a different point of view. So, without further ado (and no irony), let's take a look at:

5 Good Things About the Death of Net Neutrality

1. Creative Competition -- Allowing the ISPs to pick and choose what services are available through their systems gives them a cable-like power over what their subscribers can see. If that seems bad, consider this: The Sporanos would never have been allowed on network TV. What other great content can't survive in an open internet, but could flourish in a walled garden?

2. Fewer Trolls -- If it takes longer to surf the web because the information is bottlenecked, you'll be less likely to waste that precious time leaving trollish messages on blogs, won't you?

3. Media Consolidation -- Let's say Verizon signs an exclusive deal to carry ESPN360 -- which, according to Tilzy TV, it seems has happened. Instead of both companies making concessions to meet each others' needs, the next step is to simply consolidate ESPN (and its parent companies, ABC / Disney) and Verizon. Bigger business = bigger reach = bigger buying power = a win-win situation for company and consumer, who won't be distracted by too many choices. (It worked for AOL-Time-Warner, after all.)

4. Higher CPM Rates -- Let's face it, if only the wealthy will be able to experience an uninterrupted flow of internet information, it stands to reason that the ads on the sites their ISPs allow through should carry a higher CPM rate because their audience will be more affluent, have more expendable cash and is obviously determined to use the internet as a lifestyle tool. Great news for everyone trying to monetize social media -- all we have to do now is craft media that the rich want to see.

5. Fewer People on the Internet, Period -- After all, if I CAN'T get the information I want when and where I want it (or, more precisely, I won't be willing to pay extra to get it), I might be inclined to do something else entirely -- like go outside... or read a book... or have a life...

The internet: it was a fun experiment while it lasted.

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  • That is one funny post. I almost replied with the inverse arguments but eventually caught on.

    Although, I could use a bit more exercise *grin*.

    By Blogger Ed, at 1:51 PM  

  • As I understand it, Net Neutrality wouldn't mandate that my access and your access are the same. I can have a 28.8 modem and you can be on a university T3, and our experience will be vastly different. This difference is part of the current structure of the net, and is governed by what we can afford.

    Net Neutrality would stop ISPs from charging content providers even more money to prioritize their content's delivery.

    For example, without Net Neutrality, ABC might be able to pay more to get their streaming video delivered without hiccups, while a smaller producer (such as STBD) might not be able to afford it.

    What sucks is that ISPs are already charging for connectivity for these content providers, so this is largely just them being greedy. It also creates the problem that if you create "first class packets" you're also creating "second class packets" - data that be de-prioritized to let higher priority packets through.

    In order for the 2 tier internet to work, all the major backbone carriers would have to work together. In the face of huge outcries from all the now "second class" I can't see them all cooperating.

    As for "Verizon exclusive content" or something similar, there's always been walled gardens (AOL, etc) but in the end, content providers want to get their content out there. Any exclusive content will have limited exposure and relevance due to it's exclusivity, and I don't see it working from an ad-revenue point of view.

    Yes, the 2 tier internet could be a problem, but I also think that legislation at this point would be premature. We've also got a history of making some really stupid legislation that in the end does more harm than good. I'm okay with a "wait and see" approach at the moment.

    I personally wouldn't call time-of-death on the internet just yet.

    By Blogger Eric Skiff, at 1:56 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Norm, at 4:11 PM  

  • If this were to happen then the internet would probably fall off outside of basic communication. As more and more people are empowered to produce content on any level for mass consumption. Any restriction on the flow of information wouldn't be received well. People would leave it and find some other way to get it for free.

    Brian Conley just gave me this link. It is about investigative journalism in online media. But basically under above rules there would be no room for this freedom.

    By Blogger Norm, at 4:16 PM  

  • I will say that I'm definitely not happy about this. What about the little guys that don't have money and the only way to get known is through the fact that the internet was for everyone.

    I made it known at my school in some classes about net neutrality and I'm upset that even though people said they cared, they did very little to spread the word.

    By Blogger Philip, at 9:06 PM  

  • Do I detect a note of sarcasm there?

    The only real good that could come of Net Neutrality being struck down is, alternative routes around the gatekeepers could arrive faster e.g. WiMax or some such things.

    By Anonymous thejim, at 7:21 PM  

  • If this ever passes I might go postal.

    By Anonymous Clintus McGintus, at 10:03 PM  

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