Why you’ll hate the Internet ‘fast lane’
- The FCC might allow Internet service providers to charge more for a “fast lane”
- Corynne McSherry: High costs will go to customers; Internet competition will be stifled
- She says other advanced countries pay far less and get faster service than Americans
- McSherry: On May 15, the public can weigh in on FCC’s decision and voice concerns
Editor’s note: Corynne McSherry is the intellectual property director at Electronic Frontier Foundation. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.
(CNN) — Recently, Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, came under fire for reportedly proposing exceedingly weak “open Internet rules.” If the reports are correct, the FCC will allow broadband providers like Comcast to make special deals that give some companies preferential treatment, as long as those deals are “commercially reasonable.”
In other words, rather then requiring broadband providers to treat all Internet traffic more or less equally, the FCC will permit them to create an Internet “fast lane” and shake down content providers like Netflix, Google and Amazon for the right to travel in it.
Guess who will really end up paying for the fast lane? Yep — you, the customers.
The price will be higher than you think. Not only will you have to pay more for the services you already use, but you will also lose out on emerging services that will be crushed by the new costs.
YouTube and Netflix may be able to “pay to play.” But innovative competitors — the next Facebook, Twitter or YouTube being dreamed up in someone’s garage right now — may not.
The proposed rules aren’t all bad. The FCC will also require ISPs to be more transparent about the deals they make so customers will know what they are getting. The FCC will also caution ISPs against making deals that favor their own affiliated businesses (we’re looking at you, Comcast — no special favors for your friends at NBC Universal)…