Pros and Cons of Net Neutrality Regulation

According to President Barack Obama, net neutrality unleashes the Internet’s power and gives innovators an opportunity to flourish.  Yet, Texas Rep. Sen. Ted Cruz said the regulation is just “Obamacare for the Internet”.

Net neutrality is something Netflix is looking forward to while Comcast is dead set against it. Why is that?

4 Possible Implications For Internet Users  

There is no doubt that there some definite political and business divisions in regards to this issue. However, what does this mean for Internet users?

1 . Internet Becomes Public Utility Regulated

As it stands right now, the FCC states Internet service providers are information services, not telecommunication services. The plan Obama has offered would classify broadband as a public utility similar to telephone networks.

2. ISPs Can’t Charge Websites For Faster Internet

Net neutrality regulation could keep Comcast, AT&T and other ISPs from charging websites that use a high amount of bandwidth more money for the same services. The U.S.’ largest bandwidth user is Netflix, which could give their subscribers the same service without making them pay more money due to an increase in bandwidth usage costs. According to a cable industry spokesperson, a move away from light directive of the Internet could cause devastating consequences.

3. Market Couldn’t Carry Out Experiments

The regulations could keep market forces from experimenting with the “premium pay” layout. Therefore, ISPs could tack on additional fees to customers if they can’t charge Google, Amazon and Netflix money for the speeds they provide. With more people cutting the cord, cable providers are looking for means to stay viable financially.  This could result in high monthly Internet fees. Netflix said consumers should be the ones in power to choose who wins and who loses on the ‘net.

4. It Opens The Door For Additional Regulation

According to David L. Cohen, executive vice president for Comcast, said in a July 15 commentary that reclassifying broadband under Title II could produce a cloud of doubt over the whole broadband industry. This could deter innovation and investment. The cable company is worried unregulated parties could take on the burden of obligations that are designed for monopoly telephone companies.

What Could Happen If Net Neutrality Takes Official Shape

1. Service Could Be Ruined or Uneven

Public Knowledge Vice President Michael Weinberg said if content providers don’t pay the extra money for high speeds, they can be omitted from the fast lane of ISPs.  According to Barbara van Schewick, a Stanford University law professor and net neutrality expert, said these penalties could keep future Internet innovators from coming up with Skype, Facebook or other similar-like websites, as they’ll be in the slow lane for good.

2. May Pay More For Streaming Internet Services

Most Internet users find that watching their favorite television shows and movies is cheaper. And, how much you pay for streaming Internet services could increase if ISPs have the power. If providers can charge more, you’ll notice high subscription fees for their services.  However, some ISPs say they won’t change how people can access the Internet.

3. Bigger Business Can Offset Costs Better Then Small or Startup Businesses

Amazon, Google and Netflix have the financial means to offset any new costs, startup or smaller businesses do not have this ability. Many are fearful that Internet users will use websites that can pay for faster services, consolidating information the public gets.  The chances of an Internet user watching a slow loading video compared to a quick loading video is low.

4. Free YouTube Could Be A Thing Of The Past

Netflix has been strongly vocal about the costs that would incur through ISPs. However, what does it mean for free streaming video such as YouTube? Google has yet to say if it’ll charge but the company has not ruled that possibility out. Like any other business, if costs rise for items already existing, they will find ways to counterbalance the costs.

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