The Five Worst Arguments Against Net Neutrality - StartupWizz | StartupWizz

The Five Worst Arguments Against Net Neutrality

Allowing market forces to run their course, no red tape and minimal legislation – that’s what startup culture is all about, right? In the case of net neutrality, no, no it isn’t. Allowing very large corporations to operate with minimal legislation to protect the rights of the consumer and general public will always result in big profits for the corporations, raw deal for the rest of us. Look at the financial world, they were allowed to operate with minimum oversight and legislation. Same applies for the big telcos, they want to control the internet and charge us based on what we are doing online.

Do you want your internet to look like this?

No thanks!

Here are the five worst arguments against net neutrality :

1. We haven’t had regulation yet – lets just leave it alone – it’ll be fine!

Sure. We know that unbridled market forces deliver the fairest and best outcome for everyone, take a look at that monument to lax regulation and pure market forces – the financial and banking sector. Little to no regulation and an financial industry that convinced regulators to take a hands off approach led to the whole world hitting the economic buffers.

2. Market forces and competition will ensure that our internet will stay free

Some people argue that the fact that there is competition means that we can just vote with our wallets, if we want net neutrality we should just opt for a provider that doesn’t discriminate. There are several problems with this misguided argument.

The main problem is that many locations don’t have competition at all. Many towns in the US have only one broadband internet provider. Even in the case of the UK where the owner of the infrastructure (BT) is required by law to let competitors install their equipment in all the exchanges, there are still only a few large ISPs. Also – what about mobile? The recent Google/Verizon corporate hug shows us that they know too well that it doesn’t even matter if we achieve net neutrality on the wired internet, the future is in mobile.

3. Placing onerous regulation on ISPs will hobble them and and hamper innovation

This is the biggest fallacy propagated by lobbyists and apologists for the telecoms giants. Did the telecoms providers “innovate” and invent the internet? No. Will the fact that they don’t have the right to prioritise content mean they can’t innovate in the future? Of course not! If anyone can explain to me how an equal playing field might prevent innovation in any way, I will eat the internet in one mouthful.

What it will stop is real innovation, by small startups and disruptive individuals who want to create something new. Which is of course the thing that big corporates hate the most, they want to maximise revenue streams, ensure shareholder value and make sure that they can lock out any competition as effectively as possible. Could Youtube have prospered and spread to be the amazing service we are free to use to day if Comcast had decided that they would rather make sure that the arrogant video upstart will only be allowed to serve their videos at 50% the speed of their own videos?

4. We should be allowed to pay extra for “specialist” internet packages that cater to certain types of users. For example gaming, or video.

This is the “value add” argument that the big telco corporations will use to try and sell the idea that giving them the right to charge us for a public utility they didn’t create is actually going to benefit users. Paying for supercharged speeds for specific internet services appeals to them because they can create pricing tiers, allowing them to charge much more because of the “special” service you are getting.

The only thing that will be supercharged is the telcos profits and we will be less free to use our bandwidth we pay for to do what we want online.

5. The infrastrure can’t handle the amount of data the internet is creating. Telecoms companies need to prioritise data to prevent the whole thing from clogging up.

No. If that’s a problem, just make it like electricity, rather than offering disingenuous “unlimited” bandwidth packages that are actually subject to fair usage policies and are not unlimited at all, offer a bandwidth cap of X amount of gigabytes per month, anything over the user pays for. But they don’t want that, they want to control the actual content that you are watching.


The Five Worst Arguments Against Net Neutrality
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6 Responses to The Five Worst Arguments Against Net Neutrality

  • james says:

    You lost me at Number 4.

    It is absolutely crazy to justify start-up culture and business, and then claim that no-one should be able to charge for premium services.

    That’s insane.

  • admin says:

    That’s not what I meant.

    Anyone is free to charge for anything they like on the net, but telcos charging users for access to other people’s content, that is anti competitive and completely contrary to startup culture.

  • james says:

    Understood… and I was not very detailed against your specific arguments.

    Should someone like Youtube, decide to start broadcasting Ultra High Definition video, or perhaps 35mm resolution theater grade quality film, or even IMAX quality video I would think that any telco operator that wanted to support that bandwidth should be able to charge extra for it.

    So when you argue that it will not hampen innovation, it very well could, and in the case of the recent advancements with Instant services like Facebook and Google, they have placed additional load onto networks in some cases ceasing to work all-together. How do they justify major corporations shoving additional innovative products into the pipe and expect that all subscribers should be paying for it?

    The only first hand experience I have with this whole Net Neutrality concept is the limits my ISP puts on the traffic to its subscribers. To my understanding file sharing has become such a huge load on ISPs that they have to cut back on everybodies bandwidth.

    Why shouldn’t they be able to charge file sharers running servers, using the exact same internet more money? Why should everyone suffer because of them?

    So I don’t really see where there is any sanity in the concept of “Net Neutrality” itself. It is way too encompassing for me to truly understand any real benefit from it.

  • james says:

    To be fair, I have understood that in the past, if you faster or better internet, you pay for it.

    So if people aren’t allowed to pay for it, or in an odd case scenario, an ISP is unable to somehow partner with web service provider to charge additional money and offer exclusivity as a bonus, I don’t understand why that is a bad thing.

    I guess worst case I could see a scenario where Youtube only became available to ISPs who entered an agreement with them, but then they would be using the internet to deliver services that would be fronting the costs for.

    I just don’t understand it fully… I don’t think anybody really does… there is not examples floating around for me personally to really understand why or why I should not be supporting something.

  • admin says:

    Why not just charge for data usage? Telcos complain that 1% of their users use 50% of their bandwidth (not exact figures but it’s something like that), so why not just put a cap of X amount of gigabytes – you use any more bandwidth – you pay per GB.

    Giving the all the power to telcos will do nothing but hamper innovation, if Comcast and Verizon had been allowed to charge Youtube whatever they liked in order to be let into the fast lane of the internet when they were a startup, then we would have no Youtube.

    The reason that telcos don’t want to use the model above – charging for bandwidth is because they want to be able to control and shape the internet like cable TV. They don’t like the fact that some bright young upstart is on the same level playing field as them and if they make a better service, people will use it. They want to make sure that they can keep the traffic, eyeballs and money flowing steadily there way, with no nasty surprises from new entrants to the market. Or if there are, they’re going to have to pay them handsomely for the right to access the top tier of the internet.

  • james says:

    I am indifferent to the argument. If there is no dollar attached to the concept of premium it loses all value.

    I can’t understand one company charging for premium services, prevents another from doing the same.

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