The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has decided to abandon net neutrality and allow telecoms companies to charge websites for access.
The FTC said in a report that, despite popular support for net neutrality, it was minded to let the market sort out the issue.
This means that the organisation will not stand in the way of companies using differential pricing to make sure that some websites can be viewed more quickly than others. The report also counsels against net neutrality legislation.
Not only could this screw over our Benevolent Seed Overlords–compared to a major corporation, how much money can they shovel into paying for highspeed access–but there is a far more serious freedom of speech issue: political groups won’t be able to pay for high speed access while corporations will. Lest you think this only affects the left, the right wasn’t too happy with big business on the immigration issue. Of course, government sites will come up lickety split, no doubt.
I guess freedom really isn’t free….
This is just one more symptom of the infrastructure decay that has occurred under Republican rule:
Every time I talk with someone in the US about their cable TV rates I have to brace myself for some horrendous story about cost, which is always much higher in the US than here in “socialist” France. US cable operators will find any excuse – the latest being the set top boxes with a removable chip, like we have here – to charge more. The bloated fees have helped the cable operators maintain a healthy lobbying presence in Washington to fight off competition but now they are bashing heads with another bloated industry, telcos, who also want a piece of the action.
As mentioned before, in Paris customers can choose from a number of options for cable/telecom/internet and mobile options (using free wifi) at costs dramatically lower than what can be found in the US. The current rate is still about 30 euro/month for unlimited internet, 100+ cable channels, video on demand, phone calls to roughly 50 countries in the world and various options for running your mobile phone over your wifi network. Even with the weak dollar we’re still talking about $40, though 30 euro in local buying terms is like $30 in US buying terms.
All of the crying and now additional $2 and $3 charges to customers is absolute rubbish. The American cable TV industry has done a great job of protecting themselves from competition but sooner or later Congress is going to wake up and see that it’s painfully anti-consumer in all ways possible. What ever happened to the long lost spirit of competition in America? Interesting how much of that disappeared during the GOP congress years, isn’t it?
Great. So now the French are whipping us in healthcare and the internets. What next? Baseball?
*You would think the FTC, an organization that regulates the internets, would be able to post an HTML version.