The Net Neutrality Strawman: No One Is Stopping Broadband Providers From Charging More
from the understanding-net-neutrality dept
Yet, here we are again, with anti-net neutrality supporters are making completely bogus claims about how net neutrality somehow prevents them from charging more. The Wall Street Journal is running an anti-Kevin Martin editorial, claiming that his decision to sanction Comcast for traffic shaping is a victory for net neutrality supporters, and then stating:
Net neutrality proponents.... would prohibit Internet service providers from using price to address the ever-growing popularity of streaming video and other bandwidth-intensive programs that cause bottlenecks.That's simply untrue. No one is saying they can't charge more for bandwidth. Again, does anyone really believe that Google isn't paying a ridiculously large bandwidth bill? Instead, as Tim Lee describes, net neutrality has absolutely nothing to do with price. What the telcos are really trying to do is get you to pay twice for the same bandwidth. That's because internet connectivity has always been about paying for the connection from your home to the "cloud." We each pay for that connectivity from the ends, to the middle of the network. So, note, all of those connections are fully paid for.
What the telcos are trying to do with breaking net neutrality is also get companies providing services to pay again for connectivity from that middle out to users. As you'll recall, those users have already paid for that bandwidth themselves. So, the telcos are, in effect, looking to double charge for bandwidth already charged for.
This has huge implications when you think about it. After all, if everyone providing content and services to the middle also has to pay to deliver that to the ends, then it makes the initial connection that much less valuable. Telcos may be shooting themselves in the foot by trying to do this. In double charging companies for the bandwidth consumers are already paying for, they may make it such that consumers are a lot less willing to pay for it, since it will be a lot less useful. Note that none of this says that the telcos can't charge what they want for the initial bandwidth -- from the customer to the middle. Net neutrality advocates are simply saying it doesn't make sense to then charge again to send content from the middle outward. After all, it's already paid for, and who pays for "half a connection" anyway? The reason you pay for a connection is to get on the net. Not to get to the middle where the next tollbooth exists.