The FCC and ISPs make Bad Bedfellows

While Net Neutrality proponents promised open fast lanes and more creative output from the little guy, this packaged and sold optimism seems like mattress stuffing fluff soon to be forgotten except by those who bought into the rhetoric, you and me. Considering the large players involved in backing the new ISP utility classification–government entities and large corporations had interests in the classification–the FCC ruling may not be so wonderful as some first believed. In fact, the outcome may be far worse than most realize.

Government Rules And Regulations May Lead To Content Censorship

Both the government entities and the large-sized proponents backing Net Neutrality are closest to the hammers that forge the new ISP rules and regulations. And these wordsmiths may continue to craft rules and regulations into the future, mostly to the wordsmiths’ likings–not yours or mine.

Now you may think nicely of some of those Net Neutrality proponents. Pretend one of those proponents is a fictional entity doing business as Webflickers. Webflickers streams such wonderful, fun movie content straight to your television. How cool is that? But you must remember, Webflickers is a large business and this business may not truly like competition. Those ever produced FCC rules that most of us are distanced from during the rules creation process can be used against an ISP or an internet site or a content developer when something threatens Webflickers’ market share.

Or,  a government entity doesn’t like the bad press on an independent journalist’s site. Guess what? Those hundreds of rules and regulations may come hammering down on the little guy, putting him or her out of business.

Government Rules And Regulations May Lead To Increased User Costs

Making sure that FCC rules are followed requires a huge amount of overhead. That means costs. The ISPs may not pay for this burden; instead, the costs may be passed on to you and me directly through raised monthly bills, or the added cost may be applied indirectly through taxation–taxpayer subsidies to the ISP or tax fees listed on a customer’s statement.

And there’s a possible technology cost, too. Because everyone will now have fast lanes, ISPs may limit everyone’s data rate because bandwidth distribution has it’s practical limits in terms of both hardware and operating costs. But some larger entity snuggling up to the FCC may claim that the entity’s service is too important, that the little guy must be cared for; therefore, the entity needs special data rates and service privileges to tend it’s proverbial flock. The rest of us don’t get special data rates because–well–we’re just everyone.

But the worst technology cost may still be lurking. The FCC rules and regulations may obstruct internet-related companies, developers, and sites from bringing out new and innovative technologies, applications, and content. A fresh, cool start-up app development company may need an FCC team at all times just to interpret the ever growing number of rules and to prevent possible fines and forced shutdowns. What if a large business–a business that can afford an FCC team–heard about this new start-up app and didn’t want the competition?

The Little Guy Gets Kicked Out Of Bed

Despite all the Net Neutrality rhetoric and fluff, the little guy seems to take it on the chin in the long term. Individual creators, artists, and small, talented groups are too far removed from the FCC rule making process, and the little guy’s budget would be too small to fight large, powerful lobbies should a ruling problem arise. “What about democracy?” you say. “We don’t have to take it on the chin. We can vote.” Looks like the vote is already in, and the FCC and ISPs may not appreciate á trois.


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