RIP: The Internet
(h/t Sic Ibid via WC Varones)
Check out Ars Technica for an excellent primer on the FCC's new net neutrality rules, the meat of which we still don't have a good grasp of since the FCC was (intentionally, we presume) sketchy on the details and is still holding back. Gee, that doesn't appear to be suspicious or anything.
The Federal Communications Commission is releasing the details of its new net neutrality Order in stages. Although the FCC's new ban on "unreasonable discrimination" for wired ISPs allows certain kinds of traffic discrimination (not all bits need be equal), the agency made clear after today's meeting that "paid prioritization" deals with Internet companies are unlikely to be allowed. Critics had worried that the new Order would only affect outright website blocking, leaving paid prioritization untouched (or even implicitly sanctioned).
"Pay for Priority Unlikely to Satisfy 'No Unreasonable Discrimination' Rule," advises one subheading of the new net neutrality rules. Ed Whitacre's dream of directly charging Google and Yahoo to "use his pipes"—a key event in starting the entire net neutrality debate—appears to be dashed.
The first FCC attempt to choke the Internet didn't work, perhaps the second will. Or perhaps the Internet will revolt and declare its independence from this sick, twisted tyranny at work in Washington.
The FCC's own Meredith Baker: "We have two branches of government -- Congress and the courts -- expressing grave concerns with our agency becoming increasingly unmoored from our statutory authority. By seeking to regulate the Internet now, we exceed the authority Congress has given us and justify those concerns."
Here's the problem: were there a such thing as a free market in this country, the Internet would be completely self-regulating. Broadband providers would be able to do what they do best - provide - and actually make a profit based on the services offered and deals struck with those seeking to borrow their tubes. The government would stay the hell away (STRONG HINT: THE INTERNET IS A THREAT TO THE POWERS THAT BE as it offers the free exchange of information and, more dangerous, knowledge) and the market would be able to work out any kinks such as traffic clogs or unfair treatment by tube-owners to tube-renters.
But since we haven't seen a free market in my lifetime (possibly yours), we get a power-hungry FCC strong-arming the Internet into compliance.
I'm sure - no really, I'm SURE - this will turn out great for all of us.
Ask yourself why the United States has some of the worst Internet in the world. Do you realize kids in Korea average 46mbps?! I'm lucky to get 7 here in the DC burbs. In Japan, the average broadband speed is 60mbps with a cost of $0.27 per 1mbps. The U.S.? We average 4.8 and pay $3.33 per 1mbps. Sad, people, SAD.
And this is supposed to help? Someone please explain to me how.