Rep. Capuano (D-MA) writes:
Under current rules, internet service providers (e.g. AT&T, Comcast, Verizon FIOS, etc.) must treat all internet content the same. All content must be delivered at the same speed. There are no so-called “fast lanes” that providers can establish so they can charge more money. In simple terms, internet speeds are “neutral”.
For the purposes of providing an example I will use some familiar company names – this is NOT intended to single them out, but merely to make the issue more understandable to less technologically oriented readers like myself.
Currently, Comcast must provide the same speed to both Amazon and Mike’s Blueberry Jam Company because the internet is “neutral”.
The current debate over net neutrality is about whether companies like Comcast will be allowed to negotiate the speed and price of their service amongst their users.
If “net neutrality” is repealed then Amazon and Mike’s Blueberry Jam Company would negotiate with Comcast over how fast their content would be delivered including how much it would cost to deliver it. Since Amazon is so much larger than Mike’s Blueberry Jam Company, Amazon will likely be able to negotiate a much better deal – faster speed and lower price. Mike’s Blueberry Jam Company would then be at an even bigger competitive disadvantage than they are to begin with. The internet will no longer be “neutral”. So what’s the problem with this?
Small companies will be at a significant disadvantage. New products will never reach the market, and innovation and new websites will by stymied by huge entry costs. Over time, the internet will consist of only larger corporate entities.
Already, companies can pay for better placement in your internet searches – so when shopping for shoes most of the sites on the first page of the results have paid the search website for their placement. How many of you ever make it to page 25 to find a small retailer? Cost matters – placement matters – speed matters.
The internet service providers (ISPs) are already some of the more profitable companies in the world and they already know quite a bit about you. Remember, just a few months ago the same people arguing in favor of ending net neutrality also voted in favor of allowing ISPs to search and record all your internet information – from your age and credit card numbers to underwear and shoe size.
The internet was created from YOUR tax dollars. Internet innovation is the future. Faceless bureaucrats and greedy corporations shouldn’t be given so much control over it.