Lots of news today about Net Neutrality, and basically little changed at all. You’re still entitled to your free Internet, and you’re still entitled to whine when you start paying for more broadband. And you will.
But so you sound smart in work, school or at holiday parties, let’s give you “the least you need to know” (also “the most I care to understand” about Net Neutrality). It’s a top 10 list. Hang in there.
- Let’s start our story with the two main characters. There’s the internet service provider (Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, Time Warner) I’ll call pipes. And there’s the content provider or application vendor (YouTube, Netflix, Vonage, Skype) I’ll call the shit. (Via this analogy you’re sucking sewage down the pipe… hey kids, don’t forget to subscribe!).
- Net neutrality means the pipes can’t tier their shit like HUV (high occupancy vehicle lanes, which allow cars with 2 or more passengers to get a fast lane). Net neutrality means the shit has to have equal access to the pipes so it can be poured into the spot where your head used to be. Net neutrality means all shit is equal. Democratic shit pipes.
- There isn’t exactly “neutrality” in most markets, but we try to keep people from being dickheads in America. Triage happens on television and just about everywhere else. But people get their “knickers in a knot” with the web because hippies are concerned about the internet providers (pipes) being dickheads about it.
- Left to their own devices, the pipes will be dickheads about it. The hippies are kinda right.
- Furthermore, left to their own devices, the pipes wouldn’t develop any new shit. They don’t innovate unless forced by customers or market conditions because they’re like giant leeches.
- Here’s the central problem. The service providers are competing with some of the crap you enjoy free through their pipes. They’re pipes and shit makers. The pipes would rather you eat their shit instead of someone elses. Comcast, Verizon, AT&T and Time Warner wants you to buy their shit, and they benefit from putting the squeeze on the shit makers that don’t have pipes. That can piss off a market.
- Good news, however. There are two forces to prevent the pipes from abusing their position of power. First, we have laws against monopolies. They can’t exist (at least for long). Second, as long as we have decisions, we can shop. We have economics. Supply and demand. That takes care of a lot of stuff you don’t have to worry about.
- In fairness, the internet service providers did build the infrastructure, and theoretically should have the right to tier and segregate the shit based on the marketplace. They can be greedy but hopefully the two conditions in point 7 prevent them from being dickheads.
- Sorry- If you’re sucking down loads of streaming content (Vonage, YouTube and Skype), you’re costing the internet providers (pipes) money and you’re going to eventually pay for it. Otherwise you’re being subsidized and acting like an entitled whiner.
- You’re not entitled to free shit or pipes. Free isn’t sustainable for businesses or evolution. It cost money to build infrastructure and keep it alive. It cost money to crank out shit. You don’t have to buy it.
Any questions? Here’s an even better layman’s explanation but without the color.