The Internet as we’ve come to know it is gone…or at least is going away. According to today’s NYT, the FCC has decided that there can be a tiered system of Internet access, thus allowing for faster speed and wider bandwidth to be afforded to companies willing to pay for it like Google and resellers like Verizon and Comcast. Here is the link:
This essentially means that higher speeds which equal faster and better access to web-based content will become a premium service. Who will pay for this? Well, typically in a market economy it will be those who can afford it. It’s like the different between eating a McDonalds hamburger and a steak, sure they’re both meat from a cow, but one tastes better and is certainly more expensive. And while perhaps the analogy is poor because we can choose not to eat meat, none of us in our modern times can live without the Internet.
I am not a “sky is falling” type of guy, however what the end of Net Neutrality basically means is that consumers will have a choice to pay for higher faster and lower slower speeds for accessing the Internet.
Typically, those who least can afford such access will be outside of such choice because economic realities disenfranchise those from wider access whether it’s in politics or the Internet.
Who will be impacted negatively the most? From my perspective it will be those at the fringe; the poorest people in every nation, most students and in some cases public higher education.
This is just my analysis and I could be wrong but we have to take this shift seriously since the Internet is one of the most democratic tools we have to maintain fairness to access to information. And according to the FCC access to this level of democracy can now go to the highest bidder.