aNewDomain.net — In a post entitled Internet Tolls And The Case For Strong Net Neutrality, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings says that deteriorating customer experience forced him to agree to pay Comcast an interconnection fee. While that was a necessary short-term step, he argues that, in the long run, such tolls would lead to escalating fees. Soon, every large ISP would be charging interconnection fees as a toll, as depicted here:
Here are a couple of quotes from Hastings’ post:
For any given U.S. household, there is often only one or two choices for getting high-speed (10 Mbps) Internet access and that’s unlikely to change.”
When an ISP sells a consumer a 10 or 50 megabits-per-second Internet package, the consumer should get that rate, no matter where the data is coming from.”
As a consumer, I like the sound of that second quote — I think that is what Hastings considers strong net neutrality. But, if the ISPs are not allowed to charge a toll for your traffic, won’t they pass their interconnect cost on to us consumers?
Isn’t the monopoly market the real problem? If Netflix and others do not pay a fee to the ISP, won’t they raise consumer prices?
What can be done to solve the real problem (for individuals and society)? We have a lack of ISP competition
Regulation or competition from local government-operated networks are two traditional answers, and there are hopeful signs on both fronts. The FCC wants to formulate new rules with regard to net neutrality and is considering measures to overturn state laws restricting public broadband. Perhaps the citizens (voters) are getting fed up, and the FCC is beginning to hear them. Is there a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel?
For aNewDomain.net, I’m Larry Press.
Based in Los Angeles, Larry Press is a founding senior editor covering tech here ataNewDomain.net. He’s also a professor of information systems at California State University at Dominguez Hills. Check his Google+ profile — he’s at +Larry Press — or email him at Larry@aNewDomain.net.