Sunday, April 10, 2011

Net Neutrality Hurts Poor People

The more I hear about net neutrality, the more skeptical I become. From the National Journal:
"The FCC's mobile broadband loopholes adopted in its December Net Neutrality order are already leading to anti-competitive, anti-consumer practices," said Free Press policy counsel Chris Riley. "The agency must act quickly to investigate MetroPCS's service plans before similar blocking and content-based discrimination on wireless networks becomes an industry-wide problem."

According to the six-page letter, MetroPCS has introduced a tiered system under which customers are changed more for accessing high-usage sites such as Netflix and Skype.
In other words, some people want to be able to watch videos on their smartphones. But videos eat up a lot of bandwidth so the company offers a premium service to cover the costs. But that violates net neutrality so if this complaint goes through, then MetroPCS would have to make this service available to everyone, regardless if they wanted it or not. Cellphone bills would increase, and yes, I can see this spreading to other carriers.

The very poor, the ones who can't afford nor desire such options, would be completely shut off from this avenue. In pursuit of making the Internet accessible to everyone, you make it accessible to fewer people. This is a good object lesson in unintended consequences.

Here's HuffPo's op-ed on the subject.

HT: Alex Tabarrok

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

That's not what Net Neutrality is. Net Neutrality is that a company can't discriminate between the data packets. It doesn't mean companies can't charge different amounts for different speeds or different amounts of bandwidth or offer different plans. It means the data packet for video can't be blocked in favor of a data packet from Amazon or whatever.

Instead Net Neutrality is being used as an excuse for companies to screw the consumer because its critics don't really have a clue as to what it really means.

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