This is an interesting take on Net Neutrality from Kim Komondor, a highly
visible tech analyst and media pundit. I think she got it exactly right...
My take on net neutrality - Do you agree?
As you are no doubt aware, the FCC voted 3-2 on Thursday, to repeal the 2
1/2-year-old Net Neutrality rules. I’ll admit that the coined phrase, “Net
Neutrality” certainly sounded good.
The words invoked images of a perfect world. You know, where there's a fair and
free market and open internet. Where there's a neutral level playing field so
that anyone anywhere could cook up an idea and run with it and no one could put
up any barriers to get in their way.
The Washington name game
Like most legislation coming out of Washington, the name didn't really reflect
what the law would have done. Here’s a case in point: Ask yourself, “Where was
the internet 25 years ago in 1992?” For the most part, it did not exist!
OK, then ask yourself how in the world did it become the all-pervasive,
everywhere at once, information, education, communications, entertainment,
shopping and commerce giant that it is today? Was it because of early so-called
Net Neutrality? Well, of course not. In fact, most agree that the internet is
what it is precisely because the government did NOT interfere.
It did not regulate, oversee, act as traffic cop or playground teacher. For the
government, it was strictly, HANDS OFF. And we created the freest and fair
marketplace in history, allowing consumers to choose the winners and losers in
a competitive marketplace.
This resulted in the best ideas, products and services rising to the top. The
internet thrived, business competition soared. New business opportunities
became possible, think eBay, VRBO, Amazon, the list is endless. Everyone
benefitted because the playing field was level. Anyone could come. And everyone
The internet became a place where anyone could do virtually anything and make
money. Free speech abounded. Every viewpoint was clamoring to be heard.
Suddenly, people of both sides of the political fence began coming up with ways
and ideas to silence those on the OTHER side of the fence. Lots of ideas were
floated including an internet “use tax” or licensing websites the same way they
license radio and TV stations.
What's the "Net Neutrality" fight really about?
A few years ago, someone cooked up a coined phrase “Net Neutrality.” Who
couldn’t be for a neutral internet? It played especially well with recent
college graduates, ahhh the Millennials, who were not around for the beginning
of the internet to be firsthand witnesses of how its level playing field grew
The fight over net neutrality was never about a level digital playing field,
although that’s what its advocates continue to claim. Its real purpose was to
prohibit something called “paid prioritization.” Paid prioritization is the
technical term used to describe an agreement between a content provider and a
network owner to allow the provider’s data to travel on less-congested routes
in exchange for an agreed-upon fee.
When networks are clogged with data during high-traffic times, prioritization
agreements allow consumers to receive requested data faster. Netflix and other
high-volume content providers have already begun negotiating such deals. All
kinds of data including emails, cat videos, that Instagram photo of your
sandwich, travel over the internet but some data types are more tolerant of
delays or temporary congestion.
For instance, the bits comprising an email don’t need to arrive at a
recipient’s computer all in the same order they were sent. Other kinds of data,
primarily video, are less tolerant of delays. Receiving the data bits in the
wrong order or at the wrong time can cause distortions, stutters and other
You get what you pay for
If they choose to do so, content companies like Hulu and Netflix can choose to
pay ISPs a little bit extra to have their content bits delivered to consumers
faster than some other company, such as Amazon. Very NOT neutral, but necessary.
To prohibit it harms consumers in the name of helping them. Lost in the
translation is this inconvenient fact: We’ve always had to pay for faster
service! If you wanted faster service, you had to buy more bandwidth. Net
Neutrality’s real name was FCC 15-24, a radical departure from the
market-oriented policies that have served us so well for the last two decades.
Did we have evidence that the internet is not open? No. Did we discover some
problem with our prior interpretation of the law? No. What happened was that
despite 25 years of working just fine, the former FCC wanted to help large
content providers like Amazon, Google, Twitter and Netflix gain leverage
against traditional cable companies. So-called net neutrality would have
prevented upgrading for better service.
ISPs would have been forced to treat all data alike, ignoring the different
needs of the various kinds of data traveling over the internet. It stuck your
favorite Netflix stream on the same slow road as your least-favorite email from
It would have prevented the data you want from getting to you when you want it
and how you want it. Under the benign-sounding “Net Neutrality” campaign, BIG
TECH companies like Google, Amazon, Yahoo would be able to censor the internet
to suit their ideological preferences, ridding the internet of conservative and
Google's role in it all
Google was especially vested, as the tech giant helped write the 2015 net
neutrality rules and Google, YouTube, Amazon, Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook and
the others were trying to assume a kind of moral high-ground, to control the
flow of data.
“Net Neutrality” would have given the Federal Government and big tech the power
to choose winners and losers online, in an egregiously partisan manner. “Net
Neutrality” said nothing about neutrality and everything about governmental
control and nepotistic picking of favorites, which is the very opposite of