Remember 'Internet Slowdown Day'

Internet Slowdown DayThe supporters of net neutrality had a day of protest. You may remember if it was September 10, 2014. It was the hope of companies like Netflix that the loading screens and spinning wheels would aggravate consumers enough to put pressure on lawmakers. On this day your Internet connection would actually be slower in order to show you what would be like if ISPs could regulate who gets a fast connection and who does not. During this time the FCC took public comments on the issue of net neutrality, and although fewer than hoped did comments the comments were fiery and passionate.

Despite the efforts of certain companies, websites, and users Internet slow day came and went and was quickly forgotten. The purpose of the day was to protect net neutrality. Net neutrality ensures that Internet service providers cannot create a "fast lane" and a "slow Lane" for their Internet service. The fear of this is that larger corporations who naturally have more capital would give preferential treatment across the Internet. This would allow them to stream their content faster and would, over time, affect the usage of content created by smaller providers that were unable to afford the "fast lane". The Netflix and YouTube's of the world probably would not be affected as they have all the money they need to take care of this problem. It is the smaller companies, namely ones that have not even yet been created, that would suffer the most from a move away from net neutrality.

Imagine trying to create a competitor for Netflix. You have to raise capital, create a business plan, create marketing plans, and once all of this is done successfully you're going to have to actually deliver a product. This is where the catch comes in because Netflix can easily outspend you and therefore make sure that their customers are going to have a better experience than yours for the same product. They can even afford to take the financial hit it without passing it through the consumer thus making this invisible to the end user and impossible to compete with.

Many politicians have suggested that the free market system is the best way to deal with this, as they often suggest for almost anything. And while the profit motive is a great motivator one would also have to rely on corporations placing their needs below their customers. But their customers’ needs are their needs you say. Is important to mention that most cable companies have no competition in any given market. There is no market where I can choose between Comcast, and Time Warner. If I want to cable provider I can have one or the other dependent upon which one is in my given market. So that being a case Comcast really doesn't need to keep my best interest in mind as I have no place to go. I can get broadband from them, or I can buy DSL from AT&T. My current Internet plan gives me around 100 MB per second down and 5 MB per second up. The DSL service in my area would allow for around 3 MB down and less than 1 MB up. This is not a competitive product, it may not actually be in the same category of product.

So remember Internet slowdown Day and once the FCC has either destroyed net neutrality, or by lack of action allowed it to be destroyed, look back at the time when there was only one Internet because there most certainly is a fast Lane and the slow Lane now.