December 29, 2010Michael J MasseyWhy you need to care about net neutrality and the never-endingdiscussion about content
The FCC recently passed the net neutrality rules that basically dictate howphone and cable companies treat the ever-increasing amount of web traffic. This prevents cable providers from restricting broadband access tocompetitors. Sounds like it would be beneficial for everyone involved, right.Consumers can get the content they would like from where ever they'd likeand producers can distribute on multiple platforms.Not so fast.What this is really about is charging more for usage and downloads. Comcast, Time Warner, Cox and any other carriers that have a bundled plan chargeeveryone roughly the same to watch the content on TV and to downloadmusic and videos via broadband access.Now the service providers will have the opportunity to charge more forheavier usage. Want to watch the YouTube video from Aunt Sally-that will be$5,00. Need to access some videos from the New York Public Library for yourdaughter's social studies project-$10.00. And that's not all. This will impactwriters, producers and other creative development professionals that make aliving through the power of TV and on line entertainment. The Writers Guild of America East was recently quoted as saying, " our members write most of what people watch on TV and increasingly, on line. This ruling diminishestheir ability to create and distribute innovative content." And the opponentsextend to both private and public sectors.Commissioner Robert McDowell commented in a Wall Street Journal articlethat, " this is an unprecedented step to expand government reach into theinternet by attempting to regulate its inner workings." Many watch doggroups; including the Electronic Frontier Foundation have cause for concern.