iFolloSports.com Net Neutrality Statement

Thursday, the FCC voted to end net neutrality. This is a blow to both Internet consumers and publishers. Impending legal action will delay and/or hopefully derail this decision, but while legal proceedings are taking place, below is a look at what’s at stake. 

Consumers will almost certainly see the cost of Internet consumption rise, since Internet service providers (ISPs) will have the ability to create a tiered pricing structure, forcing customers to pay more for either specific genres of websites, or that of faster operating sites, as opposed to the flatter rates that exist presently.  In addition, Internet user experience may suffer if certain websites are unable or unwilling to be a part of the Internet “fast lane” (I’ll explain later), or if a consumer uses a streaming service that provides competition to a given ISP. Netflix is a prime example of this, since they compete with streaming services like Hulu, which is partly owned by both Comcast and Time Warner, each of which are major ISPs.

From a publisher/site owner’s perspective, the cost of doing business will almost certainly increase, as ISPs force content providers to pay extra for the opportunity to be a part of a “members only” group of top speed/top performing sites (the fast lane). Making matters worse, site owners may have to pay these additional fees to any and every ISP whom they choose to carry their site.

Also, a publisher/site owner’s base of viewership will likely shrink, because even if the publisher is willing to pay fast lane prices to all ISPs, if consumers choose not be a part of the tiered pricing structure, the total number of available eyeballs will drop.

Ending net neutrality is bad for both consumers (who do not possess high levels of disposable income) and web publishers who are either not owned by a major media company, or simply do not have the economic bandwidth to suddenly add this level of expense to their operating costs.

To close, here is a direct quote from Tim Berners-Lee, the man credited with inventing the modern Internet.

“ISPs will have the power to decide which websites you can access and at what speed each will load. In other words, they’ll be able to decide which companies succeed online, which voices are heard  —  and which are silenced.”