So here’s what’s been battled in the courts for years: internet providers (comcast, verizon, att), want to implement tiered pricing on internet usage (read a recent article on wired). Both for users at home browsing the web and for companies like ours, or even your favorite blogger who pays for hosting.
First of all, the cable lines are a monopoly, and we already are subject to their pricing, and price increases.
So now there’s a decision the courts have to make. And that decision is to allow these internet providers to charge whatever they want, to whomever they want. There would be no rules to this pricing either, meaning they can discriminate for any reason. Well, there would be one rule: they can’t block any website… but they CAN throttle anyone they want.
So take an example of a liberal news site that often posts anti-corporate articles. There would be nothing stopping the internet providers from throttling traffic to that site so that it takes 10 seconds for the page to load. And that kind of control with a monopolistic internet ownership is very scary.
And then there are issues for small companies and bloggers. It’s expensive for bloggers to host their own sites. And for those who run ads, ads don’t even come close to paying for it. For price comparison, they are making the choice to host a blog instead of buying a next gen console… raise that price and these bloggers won’t be able to afford to keep their blogs up. We actually pay for the hosting costs for several bloggers who’s sites outgrew their budgets, it’s one of the ways we ‘give back’ to the Warcraft community with the money from our premium accounts (so a huge thanks goes out to all of those premium subscribers).
And of course, there are issues for you, the gamer. Comcast wants to cap the bandwidth for users, unless they pay more, of course. And this isn’t new, they’ve been trying to do this for a long time. And that can affect your video gaming, not to mention being penalized for downloading games and expansion packs. It could get very ugly and very expensive for the end user. Here’s an article on how it can affect gamers in particular. And here’s a petition to sign against it.
So you should really, really care about what’s going on with net neutrality. It would damage all of the fansites we love, hurt everyone’s bottom line (excepts the ISPs). Bandwidth caps would discriminate against gamers (among other people). And the monopolistic control with the ability to discriminate for any reason is very, very scary. Here’s a petition you can sign.