What would you answer if posed with the following question?
Which of the following two items do you think is the most important to you:
Delivering the benefits of new TV and video choice so consumers will see increased competition and lower prices for cable TV
Enhancing Internet neutrality by barring high speed internet providers from offering specialized services like faster speed and increased security for a fee
Well, in a political survey of Pennsylvania residents, 66% opted for the first. This was without any mention that increased competition and lower prices would definitely be a result of dismissing the Net Neutrality bill. Obviously, only 7% of those surveyed had actually heard of Net Neutrality before. As a Valleywag author said,
It never mentioned whether these benefits were real; instead of suggesting “lower prices” and “higher quality programming,” the poll may as well have named “magical unicorn festivals” and “everyone gets to be on the Daily Show.”
One of the beauties of the current Internet is that the smaller content providers can speak at the same volume as those with all the bucks. As soon as a Telstra is able to degrade the transmission quality of other content providers in competition to their own, the equality of the voices become obscured. This really hits home hard when we look at the emergence of VoIP.
As this fairytale illustrates, if you opted to use a 3rd party VoIP provider, your telco could shunt you off to an inferior line and bundle up your voice traffic alongside internet porn. Whilst you probably won’t begin hearing heavy breathing down the line, you will be more likely to hear a series of clicks, empty space and then … a disconnection tone. At the same time, those of you manipulated into using Telstra’s VoIP solution (at possibly a higher cost), would hear the crystal clear tones of your loved ones down the line.
So does this scenario truly offer us with more choice? Perhaps it won’t immediatley diminish the choice but I believe it will certainly degrade the choices we can make when selecting providers.
With over 50% of Australian internet usage directed to the US, the Net Neutrality bill will be certainly felt over our sunburnt land. That is of course if you can get reception outside of the capital cities.