Net Neutrality is gone. Good riddance.
Lost in all of the theoretical debate about how evil ISPs will create a have/have-not divide in Internet access, is the reality that it already exists along with massive subsidies to the biggest bandwidth pigs on the planet – Facebook, Google, Twitter, Netflix and the porn industry.
Under Net Neutrality these platforms flourished along with the rise of the mobile internet, which is now arguably more important than the ‘desktop’ one in your home and office. Google and Apple control the on-ramps to the mobile web in a way that Net Neutrality proponents can only dream the bandwidth providers like Comcast and AT&T could.
Because, in truth, they can’t. Consumers are ultimately the ones who decide how much bandwidth costs, not the ISPs. We decide how much we can afford these creature comforts like streaming Netflix while riding the bus or doing self-indulgent Instagram videos of our standing in line at the movies (if that’s even a thing anymore).
Net Neutrality took pricing of bandwidth out of the hands of consumers. It handed the profits from it to Google, Facebook and all the crappy advertisers spamming video ads, malware, scams, and the like everywhere.
By mandating ‘equal access’ and equal fee structures the advertisers behind Google and Facebook would spend their budgets without much thought or care. Google and Facebook ad revenue soared under Net Neutrality because advertisers’ needs are not aligned with Google’s bottom line, but with consumers’.
And, because of that, the price paid to deliver the ad, i.e. Google’s cost of goods sold (COGS), thanks to Net Neutrality, was held artificially low. And Google, Facebook and the Porn Industry pocketed the difference.
They grew uncontrollably. In the case of Google and Facebook, uncontrollably powerful.
That difference was never passed onto the ISP who could then, in turn, pass it on to the consumer.
All thanks to Net Neutrality.
With the rise of the mobile web bandwidth should have been getting cheaper and easier to acquire at a much faster rate than it has. But, it couldn’t because of Net Neutrality. It kept rates of return on new bandwidth projects and new technology suppressed.
Money the ISP’s should have been spending laying more fiber, putting up more cell towers, building better radios went to Google to fritter away on endless projects that never see the light of day.
The ISP’s actually suffered under Net Neutrality and so did the consumers.
And therefore, Net Neutrality guaranteed that the infrastructure for new high-speed bandwidth would grow at the slowest possible rate, still governed by the maximum the consumer was willing to pay for bandwidth, rather than what the consumer actually demanded.
And, once obtained that power was then used to punish anyone who held different opinions from the leadership in Silicon Valley.
Think it through, Net Neutrality not only subsidized intrusive advertising, phishing scams and on-demand porn but also the very censorship these powerful companies now feel is their sacred duty to enforce because the government is now controlled by the bad guys.
Getting rid of Net Neutrality will put the costs of delivering all of this worthless content back onto the people serving it. YouTube will become more expensive for Google and all of the other content delivery networks. Facebook video will eat into its bottom line.
The ISP’s can and should throttle them until they ‘pay their fair share,’ which they plainly have not been.
The Net effect of Net Neutrality is that your ISP may charge you more in the short run for Netflix or Hulu. Or, more appropriately, Netflix and Hulu will have to charge you more and we’ll find out what the real cost of delivering 4k streaming content to your iPhone actually costs.
But, those costs will then go to the ISP’s such that they can respond to demand for more bandwidth. Will they try and overcharge us? Of course. AT&T is just as bad as Google and/or Facebook.
But, we have the right to say no. To stop using the services the way Net Neutrality encouraged us to through mispricing of service. If the ISP’s want more customers then they’ll have to bring wire out to the hinterlands.
Inflated Costs, Poor Service
Net Neutrality proponents kept telling us this was the way to help keep the internet available to the poor and the rural. Nonsense. It kept the internet from expanding properly into the hinterlands.
I live just over the county line in rural North Florida. To the south is a town with cable and DSL. Between cable franchise monopolies retarding expansion across county lines and Net Neutrality keeping margins thin, my home was 10 years behind everyone else getting decent bandwidth to keep up with the needs of the modern Internet.
Bandwidth needs artificially inflated, I might add, by the misaligned cost structure engendered by Net Neutrality in the first place.
It took forever for my phone provider to upgrade the bandwidth across the county line. I begged them for a second line for internet service, they wouldn’t even talk to me. Why? The return on that new line wasn’t high enough for them.
If Google was passing some of the profits from Adwords onto the ISPs I’d have multiple choices for high-speed internet versus just one DSL provider.
As always, whenever the political left tries to protect the poor they wind up making things worse for them.
The Ways Forward
The news is good for a variety of reasons. With Net Neutrality gone a major barrier to entry for content delivery networks is gone.
Blockchain companies are building systems which cut the middle man out completely, allowing content creators to be directly tipped for their work versus being supported by advertising no one watches, wants or is swayed by.
Services like Steemit and the distributed application already built and to be built on it point the way to social media cost models which are sustainable and align the incentives properly between producers of content and consumers.
Steem internalizes the bandwidth costs of using the network and pays itself a part of its token reward pool to cover those costs. So, all that’s left is content producer and their fans. Advertisers are simply not needed to maintain the network.
Net Neutrality was a trojan horse designed to replicate the old shout-based advertising model of the golden age of print and TV advertising. It was a way to control the megaphone and promote a particular point of view.
Look no further than the main proponents of it. George Soros and the Ford Foundation are two of the biggest lobbyists for Net Neutrality. Only the political left and its Marxian fantasies of evil middle men creating monopolies fell for the lies, as they were supposed to.
The rest of us were like, “Really? This is not a problem.” And it wasn’t until you looked under the hood and realized all they stood to gain by it.
Now, with Net Neutrality gone the underlying problem can be addressed; franchise monopolies of cable and phone companies in geographic areas. These laws are still in effect. They still hang like a spectre over the entire industry. Like Net Neutrality, these laws concentrate capital into the hands of the few providers big enough to keep out the competition.
So, instead of championing the end of franchise monopolies, which county governments love because they get a sizable cut of the revenue to fund non-essential programs, the Left made things worse by championing Net Neutrality.
That also needs to end. Even if you believe that franchise monopolies were, at one point, necessary. They are not now. IP-based communication is now fundamentally different than copper wire for discrete services like phone and cable. Let people run all the copper and fiber they want. There’s plenty of room in the conduit running under our sidewalks and streets.
Let a thousand flowers bloom, as the great Lew Rockwell once told me.
Then and only then will the Internet be free.
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