On Thursday, the FCC approved a proposal that would allow internet companies to pay internet service providers (ISPs) for access to fast lanes that prioritise content over content from companies that don’t pay. Net neutrality advocates like Wilson prefer all internet traffic to be treated equally, which will help keep things competitive as new internet companies grow.
If the FCC’s proposal goes through, then big internet companies that can afford to pay for fast lanes will gain an advantage over companies that can’t.
The widget on Wilson’s blog includes a form for his readers to write to Congress and do what it can to block the FCC’s proposal.
Last week, Wilson expressed the same concern about net neutrality ahead of the FCC’s official proposal:
The FCC has responded to a court ruling by proposing a convoluted set of rules that will allow fast lanes, slow lanes, and what’s even worse, no lanes. The FCC’s proposal will allow the telcos and cable companies that provide the last mile connection to your home or office to prioritise some bits over others. That’s how they create the fast lane and the slow lane. It also allows discrimination in which they can decide not to allow your bits through at all, creating a “no lane”.
Many, including a fair number of folks on this blog, have argued that we should not “regulate the Internet” and we have to allow the last mile providers to do what is necessary to make money. Sadly, we have already regulated the last mile of the Internet and have given local duopolies around the country to telcos and cable companies. For most citizens in this country, you have two choices for the Internet connection in your home. You can buy it from your phone company. Or you can buy it from your cable company. If there were dozens of choices for last mile connectivity, I would also argue for no regulation and let the market figure this out. But there is not enough competition in the last mile market to allow a true market to function. Instead we will have terms of service dictated to us and these providers will extract rents from all service providers on the Internet and the era when anyone could launch something and compete on a level playing field with the incumbents will be over.
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