Net Neutrality: When you are the competitor

stressed businesswoman

As the Net neutrality debate rages and feels fresh, it's easy to forget just how long this thing has been raging. While searching for a post over at my personal website I stumbled onto a forgotten analysis from April 2006, when I lived on the East Coast and had Verizon FiOS.

Critics complain the Federal Communications Commission seeks to create two Internet Information Highways -- one fast lane and the other slow. But something I identified 7 years ago is still relevant today.

Sorry to quote myself:

Some Net providers would like to give preference to their services, even penalizing competitors. But what is a competing service? How about you and me? There has been too much focus on Net non-neutrality as being a business-against-business thing, where consumers might get less choice and so be harmed. I reckon the big Net providers would just as easily compete with their customers. I’ve got email running off my own domain. What would prevent my provider, Verizon, from favoring email routed through its servers and putting the breaks on email sent off my domain? The competitor pushed to the slow lane would be me, or you.

Think about this concept in context of the FCC proposal establishing fast and slow lanes and where you host a website one place but Comcast or Verizon becomes a registrar and wants you to use their service instead. Or, again, their email rather than the one from your domain.

This idea varies from ISPs favoring one service over another and potentially causing consumer harm. You are the competitor. What's to keep you from getting pushed to the slow lane and run over? You tell me.

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