FCC Vs. Voogle – Which one would really benefit us more?

I have been monitoring the war of words between FCC and Voogle (the pact between Verizon and Google to kill the Net Neutrality) for a while now. If you have  also  been following my coverage on the subject, you can tell, I have been pretty much against the Voogle Pact from day first since the federal court decided in April  FCC lacked the authority to impose net neutrality.

I’ve also learned that regulation has been consistently captured by interests to further their own cause rather than any general “will of the people”.  Perhaps, it might make sense we just let the competition do its thing. I see DSL and Cable companies competing, with satellite and wireless providers creeping in. If Comcast denies you access to your favorite blog or slows it down, what are you going to do? If there’s an alternate provider, you leave. And I think if major providers do try to do that, you’ll see plenty of alternative ways to access the net.

So, I gave the whole FCC vs Voogle thing  a little bit more thought over the weekend and decided to put the pros and cons of the Net Neutrality in writing for an open discussion and feedback.

If FCC Wins….

a) When the FCC starts regulating an industry, it has a tendency to continue to add regulations. Having originally grown up in the other side of the Atlantic, I fear that if  FCC starts enforcing the net neutrality,  it would open the door for the government to decide what is appropriate content for the web. Do we really want an Iranian or Chinese Government like in charge of this?

b) How will it effect the innovation? A technological detail that many miss in the net neutrality debate is that some web services require differential treatment in order to be functional. i.e. Voice over IP? What kind of treatment it will get?

Same this for Wireless. It has different technological hurdles than broadband Internet that a strict net neutrality policy might make impossible to clear. Opening up the ability to purchase better access times would pave the way for innovations that require superior bandwidth, like high-definition or 3D video.

Would the restrictions on net neutrality cut off these potentially profitable new innovations?

c) Verizon and Google included a phrase in their proposal that allows service providers “to engage in a reasonable network management.” This would include the power “to reduce or mitigate the effects of congestion on its network.”

What would happen if the FCC created regulations that banned service providers from mitigating these effects? Would the Internet overload? Yes? No?

How will this effect the bandwidth caps that are already implemented by wireless carriers and many wired Internet providers to prevent bandwidth abuse by users?

If Voogle wins…

a) If the FCC doesn’t regulate net neutrality, there’s still a chance that the Internet will increasingly end up functioning like television. This means if priority access becomes available, only giant companies will be able to purchase it. Whereas now consumers have infinite choices of Internet content that loads the same way, there will be limited sites available that will enjoy superior access.

It could be like cable: A company delivering mediocre content and ads to your home for an inflated fee. This sort of content restriction would most likely take the form of a “select channel” section of the Internet.

b) Giving priority treatment to companies that can pay fees also raises some concerns about fair play.

It freezes out the potential for the next innovators and puts the smaller guys at a disadvantage. Historically, it’s the smaller guys who made the Internet what it is today. And they had a chance to grow into big guys because the Internet is an open place.

Instead of becoming the next Google, the fear is that the next Google will instead have to pitch their idea to Google itself. Startups won’t be able to afford the fast-lane fee themselves.

c) The other possibility is that without net neutrality, an Internet provider would be able to merge with a media company and make its own content the fastest to access, leaving the us, the consumer with a choice between a long download or viewing that company’s content. Some fear that it could get even worse than a collaboration between provider and media company.

You comments and feedback are greatly appreciated.

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About Elias Shams
I have been a serial entrepreneur in telecom and social media space for past 12 years or so. I hold a M.S. degree in Telecommunication Engineering from the George Washington University and a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland. I’ve lived and worked in many countries and cities including London England, Tehran Iran, Bonn Germany, Paris France, Alicante Spain, Delhi India, and my favorite of all Washington, DC of great US of A. Two of the greatest Washington, DC based companies I worked for and very proud of are Yurie Systems which was sold to Lucent in 1998 for $1.23 B and telezoo.com that I founded in 1999. I am currently the founder and awesomizer @ awesomize.me

2 Responses to FCC Vs. Voogle – Which one would really benefit us more?

  1. Rene Fleurent says:

    This is exactly the situation that I have had many a discussions with many of my friends about. Its it the tail that wags that dog when we discuss TV programming or the dog…… Is the media bringing to us what we want to see? Because if they don’t, we don’t watch and they can’t sell their commercials for premium pricing. …..or is what we see broadcasted is what we believe to be mainstream, norm, or the thing to do? How many times have we said, “Madison Ave directs our purchasing?” Look at the pet rock? So if ESPN or any of the other major networks picks up cycling will it change Americans?

    With that, I have to say, Absolutely, Yes. The younger the America, the more influence they are…… look at our culture, we are SO driven by the media. I guess my follow up question to that would be, “Would it really improve our passion?” The one thing I would like to see it better awareness of the rules of the roads by both automobile drivers and cyclist and the addition of well maintained paths.

  2. Jorge Tobias says:

    Vote for Voogle. The market is the only way to control multiple interests…

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